Teachers and support staff at Oaks Park High School in Redbridge, east London, remain “determined and resolute” in their fight against victimisation and bullying from the school’s senior management.
Over 50 strikers and supporters gathered at Redbridge town hall on Saturday for the third time to protest against the Labour council’s decision to back management and strike breaking.
Banners read, “Save Oaks Park School,” and protesters chanted, “What’s disgusting? Union busting.”
Last academic year at the height of the pandemic, NEU union rep Keiran Mahon encouraged other workers to use Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act to ensure their safety. His determination to fight for his colleagues resulted in senior management terminating his employment in May.
Venda Premkumar, secretary of Redbridge NEU, told Socialist Worker, “We are striking for a positive change. We want Redbridge council to resolve this dispute.
“The dispute has already lasted over four months and union members have taken 20 days of strikes. It’s time to end this and put teachers where they want to be, back in the classroom.
“The strikers are determined and resolute in their fight for what’s right.”
The lively protest featured a Twitter storm directed at the council and NEU members were petitioning local people.
One former Oaks Park student signed the petition and alleged that he witnessed bullying from senior members of staff. He offered solidarity to his former teachers as he wants his younger siblings to have a good education.
NEU members from Hackney and Newham branches offered their solidarity to the strikers.
Rob, an NEU member and teacher in the neighbouring borough of Newham, told Socialist Worker why he found it important to offer solidarity.
“This is an issue that goes beyond one school, it’s a broad problem across education,” he said.
“As staff returned to schools after the pandemic—after the stress of teaching online—headteachers and senior management are trying to put more pressure onto teachers and support staff to go back to normal.
“We need to resist this and give teachers and staff more control.”
NEU members at Oaks Park will return to picket lines from Tuesday to Thursday next week. And after half term workers will walk out for a further 12 days across November.