By Sadie Robinson
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‘We have had enough,’ say sixth form workers preparing to strike

This article is over 4 years, 1 months old
Issue 2674
Sixth form workers on strike in Cambridge in 2016
Sixth form workers on strike in Cambridge in 2016 (Pic: Tom Woodcock)

Workers at 23 sixth form colleges are set to strike on Thursday 17 October in a battle over funding and pay.

The day will be the first walkout for NEU union members in the campaign and the union plans two more days of action in November.

Jean Evanson is the post-16 national executive member for the NEU.

She told Socialist Worker how cuts in funding have harmed students’ education and workers’ conditions.

“Since 2010 the post-16 sector of education has faced the deepest cuts in the ideological attack on state funded education,” she said.

“The loss of around a quarter of funding has impacted education workers and their students.

“We are facing larger class sizes, reduced curriculum, huge cuts to tutorial and enrichment.

“This has led to workload escalating.

“Our pay has been cut by around 15 percent in real terms. We have had enough.”

The NEU is demanding that the Tory government increase sixth form college funding to address the impact on conditions, and to fund a pay rise for workers.

In recent strike ballots, 84 percent of union members who voted backed strikes on an overall turnout of 43 percent.

Some 25 sixth form colleges reached the Tories’ 50 percent turnout threshold required for legal strikes in recent strike ballots.

But two colleges will not be part of the first strike as it falls during their half term.

The action could grow in November, as the union will also re-ballot around 15 colleges that just missed the threshold.

A central London rally to be hosted by the NEU will take place on the first strike day—1pm, Thursday 17 October, Emmanuel Centre, London SW1P 3DW

Strikes at three London schools

On strike at Bexleyheath Academy on Tuesday

On strike at Bexleyheath Academy on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

NEU union members at three schools across London were set to strike this week. At Bexleyheath Academy in south London, workers are fighting a restructure. They began a three-day strike on Tuesday, following two 24?hour strikes in September.

NEU members at Roe Green Infants & Strathcona school in Brent, west London, were set to walk out on Wednesday. Workers are fighting redundancies.

In Tower Hamlets, east London, NEU members plan to strike at Harbinger Primary School on Wednesday over what the union describes as an unacceptable management style.

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