Socialist Worker

Solid strike by east London teachers over academisation

by Miriam Scharf
Issue No. 2585

Solidarity on the picket line

Solidarity on the picket line


NEU union members at Royal Docks Community School in Newham, east London, struck on Wednesday. They are fighting plans to turn the school into an academy.

Over 25 pickets and supporters turned out. Louise Regan, president of the NEU for the NUT section, congratulated the union group on closing the school. She said we need to see a lot more action like this to turn the tide back on academisation.

NEU members leafletted the area, aware that parents knew little of what was happening. The strike will bring it to their attention, but organising parents at secondary schools is a challenge.

The chair of governors wrote to staff to tell them not to be pressured into action by their union. But this lie about pressure made teachers angrier and more determined to express their resistance.

The strike comes as another Newham school, Cumberland Secondary, has voted overwhelmingly for strikes against academisation. Some 69 percent backed strikes in a ballot on a turnout of 75 percent. Workers plan to strike in the second week of the new term.

And union members at Avenue School, also in Newham, were set to strike on Thursday over the same issue. They held a successful walkout at the end of last month when many parents, children and other supporters joined strikers on the picket line.

Meanwhile NEU members at the Village School in Brent, west London, were also set to strike on Thursday against academy plans. Workers face a proposal to turn the school into an academy that would be part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).

Negotiations have so far failed. There is a strong desire to fight at the school. The NEU had 32 members in September – it now has 125 as workers have joined in order to be part of the strike.

In Newham, teachers, parents and others plan to protest outside Hallsville School on Radland Road on Wednesday 20 December at 4pm. The school is set to become part of a MAT on 1 January next year.

Send messages of support for the Newham strikers to assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com and for the Brent strikers to hank.roberts@neu.org.uk

Action suspended at Sheffield primary school 

Striking workers at Westways Primary School in Sheffield have unanimously voted to suspend further action following significant progress in their dispute.

The NEU union members are in dispute over workload and other issues.

Management at the school have now accepted the principle of a union’s right to negotiate on any collective matter of concern to their members.

Workers began a two-day strike at the school on Tuesday of this week but did not strike on Wednesday.

They held a successful two-day strike on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Workers oppose changes in the school including a shorter playtime for early years children and Sats-style tests every half term in years three to five.

Sign the petition to support the workers at bit.ly/2i4lpI0

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