There were big picket lines at four schools in Lewisham, south east London, on Thursday of last week. Strikers from the NUT, NASUWT and GMB unions were supported by parents, students and other trade unionists.
The strike, at Prendergast Hilly Fields, Prendergast Ladywell, Prendergast Vale and Sedgehill, was over threats to convert the schools to academies.
GMB member Vivienne told Socialist Worker, “We believe in being part of the family of local authority schools, not in privatisation. We don’t need an academy.”
NUT member Hannah added, “We need to stop the academy. Today’s show of strength shows we can win.”
Jason, a parent, said he was “disgusted and appalled” by governors’ drive to turn the schools into academies.
“I fully support the workers’ strikes,” he said.
Students refused to cross picket lines, and made banners and placards against academy schools.
Phil Rowan visited pickets to show support. “Hilly Fields students told me that during the last strike they watched from their classroom window,” he said.
“Their English teacher crossed the picket line.
“When class started she told the students to get their books out. They stood up and walked out—refusing to be taught by what they called a scab.”
A group of 60 students, teachers, staff and parents protested at the Leathersellers’ Company, which owns the schools, in the City of London after the picket lines. Students then led off a march to St Paul’s cathedral for a rally.
Student Sasha said, “We’ve done sit-ins, blocked the corridors and refused to work for 20 minutes several times. It’s our education, our future, our fight. We’re going to win.”
Four day strike called at Barnsley College
Workers at Barnsley College are preparing for a four-day strike to defend jobs and conditions.
The UCU union members are fighting a restructure that would downgrade jobs and pay for some workers.
Workers held a successful and well supported three-day strike against the attack earlier this year.
They are set to walk out from Monday of next week—which will be a national day of solidarity with the strikers.
Ballot against sackings at University of Salford
UCU union members at the University of Salford are balloting for strikes to defend two workers.
Bosses have sacked two union members who opposed a planned restructure at the university. They have refused the two the chance to appeal.
The ballot ends on Friday 27 March.