Socialist Worker

Teaching assistants & dinner ladies unite

by George Arthur
Issue No. 2627

Unity on the picket line on Monday

Unity on the picket line on Monday (Pic: Barnsley Unison)

Teaching assistants (TAs) and higher level teaching assistants joined a strike by dinner ladies at Ladywood Primary School in Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire, on Monday.

They formed a picket line from 6am demanding that threatened redundancies are stopped.

Bosses want to sack nine dinner ladies and use TAs to supervise meal times instead.

In response, the dinner ladies, in the Unison union, have been on indefinite strike since 4 October.

One TA said, “The head acts like a dictator. She is not prepared to treat people properly.

“We told her two weeks ago that we were joining the strike, but on Friday she was telling parents there would not be a strike.”


Some parents also stood with the pickets to show their support.

One parent said, “We have set up the Ladywood Parents Association and we will be having a meeting to discuss the dispute.

“Parents have a number of issues with how the head teacher is operating the school and we want to see change.” A rally on Monday saw Barnsley trades council and members of the NEU, GMB and CWU unions bring ­messages of support.

Malcolm Clements, a Barnsley councillor, told the rally, “I will be raising this issue with Barnsley Labour group.

“Nothing has been discussed with us about the problems at the school.

“It is a local authority school and we should be putting on pressure to get this sorted.”

A boost was given to the rally when a group of ­ex-miners marched up the road with a Yorkshire NUM union banner.

Ladywood Primary school is in Grimethorpe, an ­ex-mining village, and there is still a strong sense of solidarity.

The rally finished with the pickets giving rousing ­choruses of “No ifs no buts, no dinner lady cuts!”

Messages of support to [email protected]

Local government round up

A battle over pay in local government in Scotland could be coming.

Unite union members have voted by 73 percent to reject a 3 percent pay rise.

Of those who rejected the offer, 88 percent voted for industrial action.

The GMB, Unison and Unite all recommended rejecting the offer. The Unison ballot closes on 7 November.

Unite says it will move to an industrial action ballot.

Strikes could hit leisure services across Blaenau Gwent, South Wales, in November as workers at the Aneurin Leisure Trust fight poverty pay.

Unison union members are preparing to strike against the bosses’ pay offer which amounts to an annual increase of just 0.5 percent.

Around 110 workers in libraries, entertainment venues, parks and leisure centres across the borough voted 88 percent to strike.

Rosie Lewis, Unison Wales regional organiser said, “Some staff are so desperate they have been forced to use foodbanks.”

Anti-cuts campaigners are preparing to take to the streets to fight planned closures to nurseries in Salford, Greater Manchester. Labour-run Salford council announced plans in February to close its five Sure Start nurseries.

After public outrage and a 1,000-strong demo, the plans were shelved and funding guaranteed for another year.

But parents and workers want secure long-term funding for the nurseries, which employ 106 workers, and serve around 250 children.

Demonstrate, Sat 27 Oct, 12 noon, Salford Civic Centre, Chorley Road, Manchester M27 5AW

Seven finance workers at Newham council in east London were set to strike over pay and regrading on Friday of this week and Monday next week.

The Unite union members plan two more days of action.

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