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Militant mood against job cuts at Reading College
On the day before the general election, a taste of the mood amongst public sector workers was evident in force, with dozens of workers at Reading College out on a lunchtime protest against job cuts.
Their protest was lively, noisy and energetic, with chants of: "No Ifs! No Buts! No Education Cuts!" and passing drivers tooting their horns in solidarity.
Unison activists explained their case:
"We are facing 128 job cuts, when we are already over stretched. That means even more work on less shoulders if these cuts go through. This will mean a poorer education for students with larger class sizes, less qualified 'cheaper' teachers and falling standards."
The cuts are being carried out by Activate Learning who run colleges in Reading, Oxford, Banbury and Bicester. This squeeze on public sector workers, the militant mood on their protest and the noisy support from passing motorists goes a long way to explain why the Tories lost in Reading East.
Reading Socialist Party members joined the protest in solidarity and got a warm response to our "Tories Out, Corbyn In!" leaflets. The defeat of the Tories locally and the loss of their majority nationally is certain to give a boost to union members at Reading College and the view that these cuts can be stopped.
This fight should be linked up to all those facing cuts in education, health, local government and the private sector, in a national demonstration to oppose all cuts.
The Socialist Party gives our full support to this campaign and calls for an end to the privatisation of education, with all FE colleges returned to the public sector and provided with full funding by central government to restore jobs and pay and improve educational standards for students.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 June 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.