Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/525/3905
Magic strike at Merlin school
Merlin school teachers on their picket line, photo Martin Powell-Davies
On a windy morning in south London, teachers at Merlin school held a very friendly but determined strike.
Teachers are angry that school governors with the backing of Lewisham council are planning to cut recruitment and retention payments to 11 teachers. This would mean these teachers would lose over £1,000 a year.
This payment helps to pay the childcare of one of the teachers. It has meant that for the first time in many years the school has been able to maintain a large core of stable staff. The only thing so far that the governors and council have been prepared to negotiate on, is to extend slightly the period before they cut this payment.
One of the things that has incensed the teachers has been the attitude of the governors who think they are being really generous by offering to extend the payment for a few months longer.
All 14 teachers were out on strike and they have been buoyed by the support they have been getting from local parents and other teachers. When they were leafleting the school to let parents know about the strike (because the school hadn't bothered to tell the parents), the parents were telling them to get a petition up and they would all sign it.
They've also been inundated with messages of support from around the country such as from Bolton and Birmingham.
Other teachers around Lewisham are watching this struggle because with 636 teachers across the borough on these payments, where will the council try next?
The teachers are determined to win and more strikes will follow if the council and governors refuse to back down.
In The Socialist 19 March 2008:
National Union of Teachers Conference
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
Post Office closures
Socialist Party congress 2008
International socialist news and analysis