Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/863/21042
Education under attack! Reports from the front line of the fightback
Photo Paul Mattsson
Stafford college wildcat strike against unfit bosses
Dan Smart, Stafford Socialist Party
100 staff members at Stafford College recently staged an unprecedented walk-out in protest at mismanagement and cuts. Earlier, a meeting of around 300 had voted their no-confidence in the college management.
Teachers and other staff members are demanding the resignation of principal Beverly Smith. As Univeristy and College Union rep Marina Bowler told the local Express & Star "Staff feel they are operating in a culture of fear and are being bullied. Workloads have gone up, stress levels have gone up. Staff are not being listened to and good staff have been made redundant."
The protest follows the announcement of cuts and redundancies. The college will face a funding drop from September, with workers and students taking the brunt. Ms. Smith is quoted as saying: "Our transformation will allow the college to be more efficient and gives the opportunity to continue to improve and meet the needs of our stakeholders".
At the same time last year 69 workers faced the axe. A 'consultation period' is currently underway with unions and staff. The main cuts and redundancies will likely fall on adult education. Beverly Smith and the management prove they are not capable of running Stafford College. By exercising their collective power, staff have shown that the management have lost their confidence, and are no longer fit to lead.
As a speaker at the protest put it, Beverly Smith must stand down. If she refuses, workers should argue for official strike action, as well as inviting students for their support. With united action we can build a quality college that serves the needs of workers and students and not the 'stakeholders'.
Community rallies behind striking Swansea tutors
Ronnie Job, Secretary, Swansea Trades Council
I attended a great meeting of Save Education Other Than At School recently, bringing support from Swansea Trades Council. Time and again the meeting heard how pupils had been able to successfully complete their school-age education and progress to college only with the assistance of dedicated staff.
It's a scandal that Swansea council officers and Labour councillors seem determined to press ahead with cuts which could see more than half the staff lose their jobs. Trade unionists have shown their determination to defend the service by more than once taking strike action, the last time for three days.
Sussex Downs strikes
Phil Clarke, Secretary, Lewes Eastbourne and Wealden NUT
NUT members were on strike again on 2 and 7 July at the Eastbourne Campus of Sussex Downs College against cuts that would severely undermine post 16 education provision in Sussex. Thank you for so many messages of support already, continue this by: signing the petition http://tinyurl.com/sdccuts and pass the link on.
Rally against cuts to further education in Leeds
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Around 150 staff and students joined a rally against cuts to Further Education colleges organised by UCU in Leeds on 1 July. At Bradford College, where 140 jobs are threatened as part of £8million worth of cuts, picket lines were solid. One striker told us: "There's real anger - we had 280 staff turn up to a union meeting recently to discuss this."
Speakers at the rally noted that adult education is under threat. Predominantly more working class students access this education. FE workers planned a further strike at Bradford College and balloting is underway in unions at Leeds City College.
Salford college faces redundancies
Andrew Sherratt, Salford Socialist Party
57 job losses have been announced at Salford City College following plans to 'streamline' their existing teacher centred programme with a £1million e-learning system. This system will effectively replace teachers and support staff with IT software.
Any cuts to staffing, or resources will result in a downward spiral in the excellent quality of education provided.
The Socialist Party found overwhelming support for the staff who face losing their jobs with students, teachers and the wider public wanting to sign our petition to reverse these cuts.
In The Socialist 8 July 2015:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party comments and reviews