Greater London Assembly election

TUSC candidate: Privatisation can be defeated

Teaching unions are warning that school dinners are getting smaller, less healthy and sometimes run out before all the children have had their meal.

In 2004 Nancy Taaffe, who was campaigns officer in Waltham Forest Unison (before she lost her job working in the library, through cuts), led a campaign to stop the local council privatising school meals.

Nancy said: “Catering workers got organised and linked up with as many other unions in schools as we could, like teachers in the NUT. We leafleted and petitioned parents, staff and the general public about the dangers of privatising our schools’ meals service. We went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant 11 where we were kindly met with chocolate muffins and tea. We asked him to support our campaign.

“The campaign culminated with a noisy demonstration through our high street with catering workers, school children, parents and supporters, banging pots and pans along the way in opposition to privatisation. We stayed on the Town Hall steps, making a noise until the Labour leader of the council came out to receive our mass petition and announce they’d backed off. We won!”

In the light of the dangers of outsourcing school meals, the campaign led by Nancy and Noreen Ferrari (Unison catering convenor) is an example of what needs to be done everywhere to stop outsourcing of our public services.

It is an example of how campaigning wins. Nancy and all TUSC candidates stand for the bringing back in-house all those services that have been outsourced.

The proposal to privatise school meals came on a wave of privatisations that were carried through when Labour was in government and in power locally.

Ken Loach film showing at TUSC event

On 19 April, socialists can meet well-known film maker Ken Loach and see the film Save the Children, commissioned by the charity in 1969, but suppressed for 40 years due to its controversial content.

Ken Loach, in association with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’s Southwark branch, will be introducing this film on Thursday 19 April from 7pm to 9pm at Peckham Plex, 95a Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST. This will be only its third ever public screening.

Tickets £5 available from: http//

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition list for the London Assembly elections:

Alex Gordon, president of rail union RMT; Nick Wrack, TUSC national committee; April Ashley, Unison executive, representing black women members; Sian Griffiths, Fire Brigades Union (FBU); Steve Hedley, RMT London organiser; Ian Leahair, FBU national committee member; Gary McFarlane, anti-racist activist; Martin Powell-Davies, executive member for Inner London of the teachers’ union NUT; Merlin Reader postal worker; Joe Simpson, assistant general secretary of the POA prison officers union; Jenny Sutton, lecturers’ union UCU; Nancy Taaffe, library worker made redundant, former chair Waltham Forest Unison; Jackie Turner, GP; Lee Vernon, Young Members convenor for London and southeast of the civil service union PCS; Lesley Woodburn, Unite rep on southeast regional TUC LGBTQ committee; Mick Dooley, construction industry activist; Mark Benjamin, Black disabled PCS union activist. Candidates are in a personal capacity.