PARENTS, CARERS and children from Craven Park primary school in Hackney held a brilliant protest last week against the closure of our school (see picture below). It was Hackney at its best-200 black, white and Asian people united. It was a mix of young and old in the battle for a decent education at a local school. The Learning Trust, the body which runs Hackney schools, says that closure is its 'preferred option' for Craven Park.
The trust has never answered any of our questions satisfactorily-why are they closing our school? What alternatives are there for our children? Is the site being sold to make money for Hackney council? Why have they failed to respond to parents' phone calls, letters and e-mails requesting support for the school?
Last week's protest was centred on the Schools Organisation Committee meeting. We occupied the lobby of the building and gained access to the meeting, putting our case against closure. We concentrated on the failure of the trust to give the school fair treatment and adequate support.
The Respect banner was on the protest, as was local candidate Dean Ryan. On Saturday our street stall and meeting was well attended by parents and well received by Hackney residents.
We collected hundreds of signatures and handed out hundreds of leaflets. This week Ron 'Chopper' Harris, former Chelsea footballer and Craven Park old boy, was due to give his support to the campaign. We also plan to have a mass leafleting campaign over the holidays. The parents are determined to fight on, and fight to win!
KIM THOMAS, Craven Park parent
Workers take on IMI multinational
WORKERS AT Norgren, an engineering firm in Shipston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, were to continue a series of strikes on Wednesday this week. Some 140 members of the Amicus union took the action after receiving an insulting pay offer-which amounted to just £2 a week. They have already held one 24-hour strike.
Norgren is part of the massive IMI multinational, which made over £140 million profit last year. The derisory pay offer was the last straw for workers. Norgren slashed jobs at the Shipston plant last year, moving the work to Mexico and the Czech Republic. The union members voted by 90 percent to take action. Overtime has been banned and the union plans to hold 24-hour stoppages every week until a better pay offer is made by the company.
The advice is to 'vote for action'
WORKERS AT Citizens Advice are balloting for strike action. Managers have introduced new terms and conditions that will leave workers worse off. The new conditions will hit redundancy pay, sick leave and long service leave. New pay rates, introduced alongside the new terms and conditions, will mean that new staff start on lower rates of pay.
In an advisory ballot of members of the Amicus union at Citizens Advice over 85 percent voted to reject the new terms and conditions.
Bad smell about gas company pay
SOME SIXTY engineers employed by British Gas went on strike in Staines, west of London, last week. This was their second 36-hour strike in their campaign to get the same allowance as British Gas engineers who work in central London.
The workers are angry because British Gas charges its customers in the area central London rates, but refuses to give the workers central London pay scales. The engineers, who are members of the GMB union, walked out for 36 hours on Tuesday of last week.