Socialist Worker

Oaks Park teachers take battle to Labour council

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2761

Oaks Park strikers outside Redbridge Town Hall

Oaks Park strikers outside Redbridge Town Hall (Pic: Venda Premkumar)


Strikers at Oaks Park High School in Redbridge, east London, protested against their Labour-run council for backing their bosses in a fight against victimisation.

The members of the NEU union are striking against victimisations. School bosses sacked NEU rep Keiran Mahon after he encouraged ­workers to use Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act to protect their safety.

Workers used section 44 to oppose the unsafe return to schools during the second Covid-19 wave in January.

Strikers protested outside Redbridge Town Hall last Wednesday. Keiran Mahon, a victimised NEU co-rep, told Socialist Worker, “I was democratically elected in December 2020. By 7 May I had lost my job.

“Redbridge was one of the most infected areas in the country and the school has 2,000 students.

“During that time my partner was in her third trimester of pregnancy. If I entered that building for any second longer than I needed to, I would put both my unborn child and partner in danger.

“Another member who was pregnant asked to work from home but was told it was safe to come in.”

Secretary of Redbridge NEU, Venda Premkumar told Socialist Worker, “The most vocal people get picked off to send a message to all staff, ‘keep your head down’.

“They want a compliant workforce, they don’t like staff practising professional autonomy or raising concerns.

“Staff are working in fear, watching their backs, scared that an error will be picked on and result in getting sacked. This must affect the students.

“There’s a culture problem within the school. NEU members are determined and resolute that they’re doing the right thing.”

Workers were set to strike again on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Messages of support to [email protected] Donate to Keiran’s solidarity fund at bit.ly/KeiranMahon

Pimlico Academy teachers in London struck for three days last week and were set to strike again on Thursday of this week.

They are fighting an unsafe working environment and failure to communicate serious incidents properly with staff.

The strike has gained solid support. Local councillors and parents are opposed to management not allowing parents to have a voice.

Following failed negotiations staff will walk out again on Thursday 1 July.

Messages of solidarity to [email protected]

Strikes at two secondary schools in Derby—Lees Brook Community School and Merrill Academy—were set to begin from Thursday of this week.

The Archway Trust, which runs the schools, wants to slash jobs and deskill the workforce. Workers also fear that cuts will lead to increased class sizes.

Workers are also set to walk out on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 July.

Messages of solidarity to [email protected]

Some 150 workers from Bablake and King Henry VIII Schools in Coventry were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

They are fighting a merger of the two private schools planned for September.

NEU union members say the merger could mean job cuts.

Messages of solidarity to [email protected]

Workers at Valence Primary School in Dagenham, east London were set to strike on Wednesday of this week against a restructure that threatens half of the workers with reduced salaries.


Schools inspector Ofsted’s top brass Amanda Spielman has claimed that protests and activism in schools are damaging to education.

It comes after students at Pimlico Academy in central London revolted over racist policies implemented by their headteacher.

Students at some schools have also been stopped from showing solidarity with Palestine.

In 2018, Spielman backed a headteacher in Newham, east London, who banned the hijab.

The real threat to education comes from decades of Tory austerity—and attacks on education enforced by Ofsted.


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