Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2906

School workers teach fightback

Educators are fighting back against bosses and management
Issue 2906
On the picket at Byron Court primary school

On the picket at Byron Court primary school in Wembley, north London (Picture: Twitter/ NEU)

Local school strikes show the mood of education workers to hit back at their bosses. Strikers at The Blue Coat School in Liverpool heard this week that the chair of the board of trustees has stepped down with immediate effect.

The dispute is over several grievances with management including claims of an “unmanageable workload”, “safety concerns” and “ineffective mechanisms for negotiation and consultation”. Strikes by around 70 NEU union members began last week and more were set for Tuesday and Thursday this week and then 12 and 13 June.

NEU union members at Byron Court primary school in Wembley, north London, planned strikes this week against joining the Harris Federation academy chain. The union said workers fear attacks on jobs, pay and conditions.

Action began last Friday, with further walkouts set for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and on June 4 to 6. Local Labour MP Barry Gardiner says the Ofsted inspectorate’s downgrading of the school from “outstanding” to “inadequate” last November was wrong.

NEU national executive member Jenny Cooper says the union will “not accept privatisation of our schools through a politicised process”. Teachers at Leytonstone School in Waltham Forest, east London, were set to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The NEU says there are some teachers who should have gone up the pay scale but have not advanced. The union has discovered that across the borough 76 percent of women who should have moved from the main pay scale to the upper pay scale have not advanced.

And 44 percent on the upper scale have not moved up. Workers at Sir Francis Hill Community Primary School in Lincoln were set to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. NEU and Nasuwt union members first struck in April over allegations of bullying and harassment by management.

NEU members at Allen’s Girls School in Southwark, south London, were to strike on Wednesday this week over removal from the teachers’ pension scheme. And NEU members at King Edward V Lordswood School for Girls, Birmingham, planned a strike on Thursday this week over removal from the pension scheme.

Ready for action over the cuts at London university

London South Bank University (LSBU) had its biggest UCU union branch meeting in 30 years on Wednesday of last week. Members voted overwhelmingly to launch a vote of no confidence in the vice-chancellor and his senior management team.

UCU will approach Unison and GMB union members to build the vote across the three unions. The meeting followed management unveiling plans to shed 55 permanent academic staff and 100 hourly-paid lecturers. A further 36 low-level managerial staff, such as heads of departments, are at risk, along with 33 administrators.

In total 297 staff are at risk of redundancy. LSBU is the latest in a long line of universities to announce big job cuts. The university funding model racks up huge debts for students but can’t support decent pay for staff. If the cuts go through, those keeping their jobs will face huge workload increases. In some subject areas lecturers are already at maximum teaching hours.

In areas where cuts are proposed staff are being told to compete with their friends and colleagues for fewer jobs. The overriding message from the animated and angry meeting was, “We should not pay for a crisis of management’s making”. As well as organising the vote of no confidence, the branch is starting the process of balloting for strikes. UCU nationally needs to link the struggle against job cuts to protect higher education.

An LSBU UCU member

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