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Battle for justice at Walthamstow Primary Academy

It's a fight over several pay issues, bullying and unequal treatment and workload
A group of strikers in pink hi-vis jackets in front of a banner of Walthamstow NEU. Positively, several of the strikers are women with headscarves.

Walthamstow teachers and other school workers united on the picket line last week

Teachers and support staff are striking at Walthamstow Primary Academy over several pay issues, bullying and unequal treatment and workload. They began with a one-day action on Thursday of last week and planned further strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The school is run by United Learning and most of the staff are black and Asian women.

Workers on the well-attended picket line said they are taking on an autocratic, bullying management team. They presented management with 49 issues of dispute. 

Strikers said that management tries to demean and intimidate staff on a daily basis. Among the examples of outrageous treatment they gave was that a permanent teacher has been denied maternity pay.

A temporary staff member who worked for two years was laid off without proper notice.

The head’s response to the strike was to put a PA system in the playground and play a song called “It’s my fight” to staff and children.

Amanda Squire

Widen action at Chep UK

Some 70 pallet workers at Chep UK in Greater Manchester have been out over pay since December. The Unite union members are fighting for a pay rise.

During the pandemic they were repeatedly told they were valued. Yet workers were offered only a 1.8 percent pay rise for 2021. This was raised to just 2 percent after they threatened strikes.

The company grabbed £60 million profit last year. Shareholders took £50 million. 

Unite has targeted Chep’s customers but must continue to escalate action against the company—which has other sites including Bristol, Birmingham and Thurrock,

Local trade unionists have supported the strikers, and this is vital to keep up the fight.

  • Donations to Unity Bank NW/1 Strike Fund. Sort code 60-83-01 Account 20217873

Hundreds out at Arriva

Hundreds of Arriva bus workers in south London struck on Monday and Tuesday over pay. 

The action had been postponed last week after the workers’ Unite union presented a new offer of 3 percent. 

That was a slight improvement on the original 1.5 percent from the bosses, but still means a real terms 5 percent pay cut with inflation over 8 percent.

But workers, based at depots in Croydon, Norwood and Thornton Heath, chucked this out and went ahead with the strike. 

  • Around 1,000 drivers at London United have rejected one offer of 2.5 percent pay offer and then another of 3.1 percent. 

But Unite has set no dates for action. They could be out with the Arriva drivers.

Battle of British Council

Workers at the British Council struck against job cuts on Thursday and Friday of last week. Bosses want a reorganisation that could slash as many as 20 percent of jobs.

PCS union members struck at offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff. 

The union’s demands include no forced redundancies and no outsourcing of jobs.

Tom, a PCS rep at the British Council in Manchester, told Socialist Worker, “They’re making between 25 and 30 percent of people redundant. There’s privatisation and outsourcing of jobs on the way.”

  • PCS members have voted 81 percent for industrial action on a 45 percent turnout in consultative ballot over the national pay claim. The union should now move quickly to a formal ballot and hard-hitting strikes.

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