Socialist Worker

Prestwich Arts College workers begin three-day strike to save jobs

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2503

Pickets on strike at Prestwich Arts College on Tuesday

Pickets on strike at Prestwich Arts College on Tuesday (Pic: Geoff Brown)

Prestwich Arts College teachers in Manchester began a three-day strike today, Tuesday, against compulsory redundancies.

NUT union members at the college had met and voted unanimously to reject employers’ “final offer” of two compulsory redundancies instead of four.

Roy Wilkes is the NUT rep at the college. He told Socialist Worker, “The mood on our picket lines has been absolutely fantastic. There is some tension now as we are coming up to GCSEs. But we are having an impact.”

The walkout follows a two-day strike last Wednesday and Thursday, which saw up to 40 people join the picket line on Wednesday. All of the NUT members at the school supported the strike, as did one trainee teacher.

Parents, local people and some students joined the lively picket. Some had been active in a campaign to save the school from closure ten years ago.

Roy said that school bosses claimed there was an unexpected financial crisis they had to respond to – but he said this wasn’t true.

NUT rep Roy Wilkes speaking to strikers on the picket line

NUT rep Roy Wilkes speaking to strikers on the picket line (Pic: Geoff Brown)

“It’s clear that this situation was planned,” he said. “They recruited five new teachers in January. It’s part of an agenda to get ahead in the league tables.

“They recruited teachers in Maths, English and languages. Those facing redundancy are a PE teacher and a special needs teacher.”

Teachers could stage more strikes after GCSEs are over. They are also considering action short of a strike and lobbying governors over the cuts.

Roy said, “The pressure over results and league tables is coming from the government. But it’s the management in the school that is implementing the cuts.

“They could resolve this very easily. If we maintain and increase the pressure I hope that we can win.”

Thanks to Adam Rose. Send messages of support to [email protected] and messages of protest to [email protected]

West Dunbartonshire school fight settled

Secondary school teachers have voted overwhelmingly to settle their dispute with West Dunbartonshire council.

The EIS Scottish education union members voted by

86 percent to accept a new offer from council bosses on a turnout of over 83 percent.

After six days of strikes workers have pushed back some of the proposed cuts to principal teacher posts.

EIS hailed the “hard won result”.It means that subject principal teachers will be reduced but not removed.

But workers in pastoral care still face job losses and a higher workload.

Victory at John Roan school in Greenwich

Teachers at John Roan School in Greenwich, have won their dispute over cuts.

The NUT union members suspended a two-day strike set to begin on Wednesday of this week.

They beat a restructuring that would have led to job losses, course cuts and higher workloads.

Workers struck for 24 hours last week, and two days the week before.

The NUT branch said the result showed that “taking action can deliver real gains in our schools”.

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