By Janet Szpakowski
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Strikes in Essex block academy plan at Waltham Holy Cross school

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Issue 2661
Pickets read Socialist Workers coverage of their dispute
Pickets read Socialist Worker’s coverage of their dispute (Pic: Picture: Janet Szpakowski)

Strikers at Waltham Holy Cross school in Waltham Abbey, Essex, won a victory last week.

NEU union members there began a three-day strike on Tuesday of last week against a plan to turn the school into an academy.

News came to workers on the picket line last Thursday that academisation of the school had been postponed.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said it was “a great day for the Waltham Holy Cross community”.

“Members and parents working together have shown that academisation is not a forgone conclusion and can be resisted,” he said.

Clearly there is still some way to go to see off the threat altogether.

But campaigners, strikers and the national NEU union sees this as a victory.

Jill Pullen, chair of the interim executive board of the schools, told campaigners that the academisation would not be implemented on 1 July as had been feared.

She said she would withdraw letters to staff about their transfer to a new employer. This achievement came as a result of the strikes and the Hands Off WHX campaign.

NEU rep Ben Collin said it was a great relief that

workers could walk into work on Monday knowing that they are still a community school.

Shaunagh Roberts, one of the leaders of the Hands Off campaign, said that she knows that the fight is not over and that they will carry on fighting.

NEU union members at Ilford County High School in Redbridge, east London, were set to strike on Wednesday over excessive workload.

Workers say they face a proposed restructure that will cut their pay and drive up workloads even more.

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Workers who drive and escort disabled children to school in east London were set to walk out this Thursday and Tuesday of next week.

The Unite union members are fighting for a £50 weekly payment for split shifts—when workers are on duty for two separate periods during a day.

The workers say that they are also asked to do extra duties in their own time.

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