Socialist Worker

Education round up: Notts College workers get ready for more walkouts

Issue No. 2678

Pickets outside Nottingham College earlier in October

Pickets outside Nottingham College earlier in October (Pic: Jeannie Robinson)


UCU union members at Nottingham College were set to start a fresh wave of strikes next week in their battle over new contracts.

Workers have so far held 15 days of strikes that have won widespread support and seen more people join the union.

The union plans 14 more days of walkouts from Tuesday 5 November.

Workers are fighting the imposition of new contracts that would slash pay and holiday entitlement while removing protections on workload.

Talks have failed to resolve the dispute.

Some 32 Nottingham city councillors have written to the college criticising the board’s handling of the dispute. It says teachers have tried to deliver a good level of education “despite increased workloads and cuts in funding”. But councillors have found a “staggering lack of trust” among workers towards management.

Some local Labour Parties have passed motions in support of the workers.

Workers plan to follow next week’s three-day strike with a four-day walkout the following week, then more dates throughout November.

Trade unionists should organise solidarity to support the Nottingham strikers.

Strikes are planned for 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 22, 25, 26, 28 and 29 November

University bosses braced for pay and pension strike

Strike ballots of around 125,000 university lecturers end this week—and could see national walkouts called.

The UCU union is balloting workers at 147 universities over pay, workloads, casualisation and equality.

And at 69 of these, more than 52,000 workers are also balloting for strikes to defend their USS pension scheme.

A number of union branches have already reported that they have passed the 50 percent turnout threshold required for legal strikes. The ballots end on Wednesday of this week.

Higher education workers’ pay has dropped by 20 percent in real terms since 2009.

And the union says attacks on the USS pension scheme leave the average scheme member £240,000 worse off.

Many UCU members are also furious at the gender pay gap and casualised contracts in universities.

The union’s national executive committee was set to meet on Friday of this week to discuss the ballot results and the next steps. It should call a series of hard-hitting strikes to drive back the bosses’ attacks.

UCU in Transformation–One Year On, Building a democratic, activist-led UCU. A one-day conference called by London Region UCU and backed by the UCU Left group. Sat 2 Nov, 11am-5pm, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. To register go to uculeft.org

School workers walk out against ‘culture of fear’

NEU union members at St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls in Bexleyheath, south east London, were set to strike over bullying on Wednesday.

They say trade union meetings have been banned, and the NEU rep has been suspended “without good reason”.

NEU district secretary Debbie Jones said, “What was a very happy school has now become an institution with a deep culture of fear.”

Meanwhile, campaigners are fighting against the takeover of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb primary school by the New Horizons Academy Trust.

Workers in the NEU, Unison and GMB unions are balloting for strikes against the planned takeover.

Paul Shellard, NEU Brighton & Hove secretary, said, “Parents, staff and the council do not want an academy trust.

“The academy model is flawed and unstainable.

“If Moulsecoomb Primary joins their trust, less money will be spent on children’s education and more will be spent on CEO wages and administration.

“Our members fear this will mean cuts to staff and rising class sizes.”

Send messages of support to paul.shellard@neu.org.uk

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