Teachers at schools run by the National Autistic Society (NAS) went on strike on Thursday of last week. Members of the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions struck in response to a pay freeze and attacks on conditions.
They teach children who are severely affected by autism. Staff work in the most difficult circumstances.
One striker at Robert Ogden school in south Yorkshire told Socialist Worker, “I chose to do this job because I think it is worthwhile. I much prefer it to the work I did in primary schools. But that is not a reason why I should be paid less.
"We did not even get the 1 percent rise that mainstream schools got in September.”
All nine members of the NUT and NASUWT were on strike and on the picket line at Robert Ogden.
Many non-teaching assistants (NTAs) work in the classrooms on a one-to-one basis. Lots of them joined teachers on the picket line until 9.15am when they went into work.
Many of the NTAs are not unionised. The Unison union is not recognised by the NAS and its members also face cuts.
They had a meeting on Wednesday evening and held an indicative ballot for future strike action.
After the picket at Sybil Elgar school in Southall, west London, teachers went to the NAS headquarters in Islington, north London. They asked to see the Director Mark Lever who listened to them put their objections to the appalling, imposed contracts.
NUT and NASUWT members are demanding further escalating strike action immediately.
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Union leaders must not accept attacks
The NUT and NASUWT unions met with Tory education secretary Michael Gove on Monday of this week.
Gove is attacking teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions. Teachers have taken several days of successful strikes against the assault.
Union leaders postponed plans for a national strike before Christmas because Gove said he would talk. Yet he has confirmed that his attacks are not up for debate—only their implementation.
Teachers are in dispute over pay, pensions and conditions. Union leaders should not accept attacks on any of them.
Victory for Glasgow Pupil Support Assistants
Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) in Glasgow have taken on their city council employers and won.
They voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved offer that lays down rules for administering medication.
Bosses wanted PSAs to dispense medication and carry out medical procedures.
The Unison union members struck for four days, closing schools across the city as other workers refused to cross their picket lines.
Unison education convenor Carol Ball told Socialist Worker, “This dispute has shown the PSAs their own strength and that they can organise and win.”
PSAs built big, angry demonstrations outside council offices and discussed their tactics at regular huge mass meetings.
Unison’s membership increased by a third during the dispute.
A Glasgow Unison steward
Strike against academies
Staff at Copland Community School in north west London struck on Tuesday of this week.
It was their fourth day of strike action to oppose being forced to become an academy.
Barking and Dagenham council has voted unanimously to ballot the parents of any school consulting on whether or not to become an academy.
This is a direct challenge to attempts by the Secretary of State for Education to force schools to become academies.