The Socialist 31 October 2012
Solidarity with Ford workers - Defend every job
Teachers at Stratford Academy strike against scandalous pay cuts
"It's like being run by the Stasi in this school", a striker commented, as teachers at Stratford Academy, Newham, went on strike on Thursday 25 October.
The industrial action is over a pay cut imposed by school governors, and against a bullying school management.
The governors' punitive salary reductions were made after these east London teachers began a work-to-rule, as part of national action by the NUT and NASUWT teachers' unions.
Following a lawful national ballot, teachers are refusing to undertake tasks that distract them from the core role of teaching and which do not require their skills as qualified teachers.
The NUT rep Steve Charles explained that not only has teachers' pay been cut but that staff are subjected to threatening and intimidating actions by governors and school management.
A letter from management went to teachers demanding they agree not to take part in the NUT and NASUWT national action, which stops short of a strike, or else have their pay cut.
Those teachers who refused to be bullied into submission had their pay cut by 15%. In response, the NUT and NASUWT unions, which represent the majority of staff, issued notice of a strike, demanding the punitive wage cuts are withdrawn and the intimidation stops.
Niall Mulholland, a parent of a Year 8 pupil at Stratford Academy, and a local Socialist Party member, joined the picket line. "Teachers at Stratford Academy work very hard and professionally, despite dilapidated school buildings and the school being in one of the country's poorest boroughs.
"The teachers have been forced into strike action by the outrageous, autocratic actions of the governors and senior school management.
"It is they who are entirely responsible for any disruption to pupils and parents. I and other parents will do all we can to support the teachers' completely justified action.
"We will campaign to try to ensure that all parents are fully aware of the real issues in this dispute and the teachers' justified case, not just the management propaganda.
"We want to meet the governors without delay, to demand that they immediately end their pay cuts and anti-union intimidation."
NUT rep Steve Charles said that parents' support is valuable in the dispute and for the future of the school and its students.
More strike action is planned by the teachers; two days in the week after half-term and three days after that if their demands are not met.
The Stratford Academy teachers' action is significant for all staff in academies and throughout the education system.
If the Stratford governors and management get away with their attacks, it will encourage similar action by management in other schools.
Please send messages of support to Stratford Academy NUT rep Steve Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 26 October 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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