By Sam Ord
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Solid picket lines as NewVic college strikers keep up action

NEU union members at the east London sixth form college are fighting over academisation, workload and a culture of bullying
Issue 2789
A group of strikers at NewVic college

NewVic workers are fighting for students too (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Newham Sixth Form College (NewVic) in east London are upbeat as they continue strikes against academisation.

NEU union members rounded off a three-day strike with a rally on Thursday—and are set for further walkouts. 

Workers’ mood hasn’t dipped since the start of the strikes last December. Union rep and teacher Rob told Socialist Worker, “The NEU has seen solid picket lines and education workers at the college remain determined to win.

“We have taken eight days of action so far and have seen support from NEU branches around London and from the unions—the UCU, PCS and Unite.

“Messages of support have been coming in from around the country strengthening workers’ resistance.

Strikes will continue at NewVic, we are taking action over unfair management practices, workload and academisation.”

Picket lines are lively, attended by dozens of workers, parents and local activists. And workers from Oaks Park High School in the neighbouring borough, Redbridge, have joined the pickets previously.

Some placards read, “Principles not CEOs,” “Teaching over testing,” and, “Accountability, not accounting.” Workers chanted, “No academies.”

Union membership increased to 100 during the pandemic in the lead up to the strikes. All but one department is participating in the strike, forcing management to continuously cancel planned events.

The workers are determined to win all their demands around workload and a culture of bullying. And they regularly point out that winning around these issues would benefit students.

NEU president Daniel Kebede said, “Fighting to defend NewVic from privatisation and keep it a community college will benefit all of Newham.” 

Rob encouraged everyone to attend their picket lines and rallies. One school or college turning into an academy can open the flood gates to more.

Every trade unionist should build solidarity for the NewVic workers’ fight in their union branches and workplaces.

Messages of support to Rob Behan at [email protected]

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