By Sam Ord
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School strikes in London over pay, conditions and LGBT+ education

Workers are striking at John Fisher, Coulsdon Sixth Form College, Walthamstow Primary Academy, Connaught School for Girls and Chingford Foundation School
Issue 2805
Around 20 people on the picket line at John Fisher school

Solidarity on the picket line at John Fisher school (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Workers at five schools and colleges across east and south London are fighting back over pay, workplace conditions and LGBT+ education. 

NEU union at John Fisher school in Purley, south London, have completed six days of strikes after the archdiocese cancelled a visit by LGBT+ author Simon James Green. The workers are fighting for the governors to be reinstated after they were sacked by the archdiocese for protesting against the decision.

A letter to parents from the archdiocese claimed the cancellation of Green’s visit “was never to do with the sexual orientation of the author”. It was “simply the blasphemous and highly sexualised nature of the author’s books”.

Teachers are right to stand up to this bigotry—and the strikes have seen waves of support flood in from other teachers and LGBT+ clubs at schools nationwide.

Meanwhile, around 50 workers at Coulsdon Sixth Form College in Croydon, south London, walked out for three days this week—and plan three more days next week. Their action came after management refused to honour nationally agreed pay awards.

NEU rep Dave Winters said, “Attempts to secure a commitment from Croydon College authorities to pay salaries successfully negotiated by national representatives have been frustrated.”

Teachers at Walthamstow Primary Academy are continuing their long-running dispute, walking out for three days each week. Waltham Forest NEU secretary Paul Phillips told Socialist Worker, “A whole set of things has been won around workload and bullying. The strikes made the school realise that the concerns are real.

“We are confident that the school will be in a better, happier place once this dispute is settled, creating a better culture and future for everyone.”

Teachers are now preparing for six more days of strikes. And cleaners at Connaught School for Girls also in the same borough walked out for three days this week over a TUPE transfer. It won’t protect their terms and conditions indefinitely. 

Staff at Chingford Foundation school in Waltham Forest have won better workload, pay and conditions after threatening to strike. They will return to work with a reduced contact time in the classroom, removed lunch duties and an adoption of NEU work life balance principles. 

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