Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/563/6798
Don't dump on Sinfin
Campaigners fight attacks on education and the environment
Teachers and campaigners packed Derby's town hall gallery for a meeting on 15 January.
Graham Lewis, Long Eaton trades council
The crowd was made up of those who oppose Sinfin Community School becoming an academy and those protesting against proposals for a massive incinerator. Everyone in the gallery concluded that Sinfin is not here to be dumped on.
On the basis of its academic results Sinfin Community School does not fall into the category where a council has to intervene. But the previous Labour council had been told they wouldn't get money for improvements if they didn't transfer Derby's schools to academy status. They could have fought the decision, but they didn't.
Six strikes by the NASUWT teachers' union and one by the NUT teachers' union showed the depth of teachers' commitment to community education. The teachers and parents' campaign included a public meeting of 350 people.
Trades council president, Dave Wilkinson spoke for the NASUWT and described how the academy process fails to deal with the basic problem of understaffing and underfunding. Socialist Party members attacked the Director of Education for failing to explain the risks which an academy involves when he recommended acceptance. The unions' postal ballot rejected the transfer by 790 to 83!
No to incinerators
Meanwhile anti-incinerator campaigners heckled until the councillors walked out. Local protester and resident Gary Woolley said: "Sinfin is run down because things like this are dumped here...nothing outside the inner ring-road matters to them...it's about my kids' and grandkids' health."
The councillors sold out the environment and Sinfin by contracting Derbyshire's annual 180,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste to United Utilities and Interserve. That is 125 lorries every day on an already congested road. The non-sustainable plant will vaporise rubbish which cannot be recycled. While the contractors claim there will be effectively no dioxin pollutants, protesters fear otherwise.
The consultation doesn't finish until the end of March and petitioning has already started. There will be protests at Margaret Beckett MP's surgery at the town hall at 11.30am on 14 February. Sinfin will be there and so will the Socialist Party.
In The Socialist 21 January 2009:
War and occupation
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party review