Socialist Worker

School strikers at Charlton Park Academy are sick of penny-pinching bosses

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2580

 

Determination on the picket line in south east London

Determination on the picket line in south east London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


GMB and NEU union members struck at Charlton Park Academy in Greenwich, south east London, last Tuesday and Thursday, to defend their sick pay.

Workers on newer contracts at the school now receive less sick pay than those on older contracts.

Strikers were furious that head teacher Mark Dale-Emberton didn’t inform them of the change—and had told parents their strike days were “inset days”.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache spoke to strikers on the picket line last Thursday.

“This is not just about Charlton Park Academy,” he said. “If this academy gets away with it, other academies will try and do the same.

“Stay strong, stay together and we will win this dispute.”

Because children at the school have special educational needs and challenging behaviour, workers are at a higher risk of assault and injury.

Striker and NEU member Annette explained how workers discovered the attack on sick pay when one worker was off sick after being assaulted. “After a certain time she discovered she wasn’t getting sick pay,” said Annette.

“The head has changed our terms and conditions without telling us.”

Suspended

A planned strike at the school for Thursday of this week was suspended pending talks at conciliation service Acas.

The school became an academy in 2012—and many of those on the picket line said this lies at the root of the attack.

Striker and GMB rep Rob told Socialist Worker, “Before the school was an academy we were all on Greenwich council’s conditions.

“The head doesn’t seem to understand what he’s taken from us.”

Martin Powell-Davies, London secretary for the NEU, said the dispute showed that “academisation gives the potential of getting rid of national pay and conditions”.

GMB member Bel said, “Academies have got carte blanche to do whatever they want. We need to get the school back under council control.”

Some names have been changed. To send solidarity go to Greenwich Teachers NUT on Facebook

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