Socialist Worker

Victory at Islington free school as threat of strike wins union recognition

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2388

Teachers at a north London free school have won union recognition after threatening strikes.

The workers, at Stem 6 Academy in Islington, were due to strike tomorrow, Thursday. They are NUT union members – but school bosses had refused to recognise their union. They wrote to the NUT last week refusing to meet or have further discussions.

Yet now they have recognised the union – and the union has suspended the planned strike and will hold further talks.

Ken Muller is assistant secretary of Islington NUT. He told Socialist Worker, “It’s an enormous success and a very significant development. It’s the first free school where workers have threatened action and won union recognition.

“It lays down a marker for workers in other free schools and academies.”

Bosses had imposed contracts on the teachers last year after threatening “legal consequences” if workers refused to sign them. They effectively leave teachers with zero hours contracts as management have free rein to change their hours.

But Ken said today’s victory showed workers’ power to force bosses back. “This victory should encourage us to step up the fight to bring all free schools and academies back under local authority control,” he said.

“The backing of the national union was important in this dispute. Workers have shown that you don’t just have to roll over and give in.

“It doesn’t matter how hardnosed the employer is – if you’re prepared to fight, you can win.”


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