"It's like being run by the Stasi in this school", a striker commented, as teachers at Stratford Academy, Newham, went on strike on Thursday 25 October.
The industrial action is over a pay cut imposed by school governors, and against a bullying school management.
The governors' punitive salary reductions were made after these east London teachers began a work-to-rule, as part of national action by the NUT and NASUWT teachers' unions.
Following a lawful national ballot, teachers are refusing to
undertake tasks that distract them from the core role of teaching and
which do not require their skills as qualified teachers.
The NUT rep Steve Charles explained that not only has teachers' pay
been cut but that staff are subjected to threatening and intimidating
actions by governors and school management.
A letter from management went to teachers demanding they agree not to take part in the NUT and NASUWT national action, which stops short of a strike, or else have their pay cut.
Those teachers who refused to be bullied into submission had their
pay cut by 15%. In response, the NUT and NASUWT unions, which represent
the majority of staff, issued notice of a strike, demanding the punitive
wage cuts are withdrawn and the intimidation stops.
Niall Mulholland, a parent of a Year 8 pupil at Stratford Academy,
and a local Socialist Party member, joined the picket line. "Teachers at
Stratford Academy work very hard and professionally, despite
dilapidated school buildings and the school being in one of the
country's poorest boroughs.
"The teachers have been forced into strike action by the outrageous,
autocratic actions of the governors and senior school management.
"It is they who are entirely responsible for any disruption to pupils
and parents. I and other parents will do all we can to support the
teachers' completely justified action.
"We will campaign to try to ensure that all parents are fully aware
of the real issues in this dispute and the teachers' justified case, not
just the management propaganda.
"We want to meet the governors without delay, to demand that they immediately end their pay cuts and anti-union intimidation."
NUT rep Steve Charles said that parents' support is valuable in the dispute and for the future of the school and its students.
More strike action is planned by the teachers; two days in the week
after half-term and three days after that if their demands are not met.
The Stratford Academy teachers' action is significant for all staff in academies and throughout the education system.
If the Stratford governors and management get away with their
attacks, it will encourage similar action by management in other
This article was taken from the Socialist Party website: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/740/15583/26-10-2012/teachers-at-stratford-academy-strike-against-scandalous-pay-cuts