Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/213/8613
Strike Back At School Sell-Offs
"ONCE THE fat cats get a foot in the door it will soon be individual schools that are handed over to private companies for profit." "They will be charging teachers to rent their classrooms next!" Such sentiments are forcing teachers and support staff to take action against privatisation of education services in the east London borough of Waltham Forest.
Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest NUT and NUT national executive, personal capacity
National trade union leaders may have got some spurious "concessions" from the prime minister, but actions not just words are necessary. For almost a year, unions and parents in Waltham Forest have been campaigning against privatisation. Now the National Union of Teachers, together with UNISON and the TGWU unions have decided to ballot jointly for strike action.
The three unions are balloting the centrally based staff (about 120 people) for strike action to stop the private profiteers of Nord Anglia/Amey plc taking over the education services in September. This is the first ballot by the NUT against education privatisation in the country.
It is difficult to find anyone in favour of private shareholders making money out of education. Teachers and support workers are opposed to it. Parents have organised a lively campaign.
Some councillors are now realising they are making a mistake. They privately allege they were being bullied into voting for it by the new education secretary, Estelle Morris. So much for local democracy!
A strike by centrally employed staff would show the strength of feeling and could prepare the way for wider action. There will be a demonstration and lobby of the council on 11 July and the strike day is likely to be 19 July.
We want to continue action in September, possibly being joined by teachers in all schools. We welcome messages of support and urge activists in other areas who are facing privatisation in education to press for a day of national action or demonstration against privatisation in the autumn term.
We have to draw a line now through preparing national action. We have no other choice if we want to keep education in the public sector.
Rally 4.30pm 11 July, Walthamstow market square, march to the town hall.
Messages of support to: Waltham Forest NUT: Education Centre, Queens Road, London E17 8QS, tel: 0208 521 3311, fax: 020 8509 9668.
In The Socialist 6 July 2001: