Friday 9 November 2012

Stratford: Parents unite with teachers to oppose pay cuts

Parents and teachers together on the school gates
The courageous campaign of action by members of the NUT and NASUWT unions at Stratford Academy in Newham escalated to two strike days last week - and will step-up further to three days of action from Tuesday 13th November to Thursday 15th November next week.

The dispute was provoked by the bullying actions of the Academy management who, behaving as if they were running a dictatorship where trade unions are outlawed, insisted that teachers individually promise that they would not take part in the national action-short-of-strike-action jointly launched by the two teaching unions. All teachers refusing to 'repent', and stick with their union's national campaign to defend working conditions, then started to have 15% docked from their pay!

The only response to such anti-union intimidation was to escalate to strike action. Bravely, teachers at the Academy have done exactly that.

This week's two-day action has seen the strike grow stronger. On the picket line on Thursday, staff from other unions in the school expressed their support - and some suggested they would be transferring to the NUT to join the action. As well as myself from the NUT Executive, members of the Newham NUT Committee and, significantly, a local parent, Niall Mulholland, all came along to express support.

Niall, along with other concerned parents, has called a public meeting in the Clapton FC Clubhouse, close to the school in Upton Lane, on Thursday 15th at 6.30 pm. As their leaflet explains: "Parents feel they have been left in the dark. They want to know: Why are Stratford teachers on strike? Why have Governors cut teachers’ pay by 15%? Is it true that teachers face bullying and intimidation from management? What does Academy status mean for pupils, staff and parents?"

The NUT National Executive meeting this week congratulated the Stratford teachers for their determined action. Their stand is not only about defending their own rights and conditions, it's also about upholding staff morale and defending the learning conditions for pupils, as well as making clear to other anti-union Heads that union members are prepared to stand together when threatened with pay deductions.

Keep sending in your messages of support to NUT rep, Steve Charles, on

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