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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 December 2020

Welsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Schools are becoming little more than exam factories, photo David Hawgood/CC

Schools are becoming little more than exam factories, photo David Hawgood/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Belatedly, the Welsh government announced the closure of secondary schools in Wales, moving to online teaching one week before the end of term.

This was a last-minute reaction to rising cases in Welsh schools, and the fact that large numbers of pupils and teachers were indicating that they would, in effect, boycott schools anyway, so they could isolate in time for Christmas.

But primary schools remain officially open, until the government does another possible U-turn. The Welsh government should have announced the closure of primary schools too.

Panic measures

It would have been much better if the Welsh government had heeded the warnings of trade unions and planned the closures. These panic measures make it very difficult for schools and families to plan online learning and childcare.

Council and education unions have been calling for a planned early closure for weeks. Socialist Party member Mark Evans - branch secretary of public sector union Unison in Carmarthenshire - wrote to the leader of the council on behalf of the union, demanding he reverse his previous decision to keep schools open before "staff vote with their feet".

Mark also said: "Staff are exhausted and frightened." And that the union's warning that "schools would, in effect, be petri dishes for Covid-19" has "unfortunately and predictably proven correct".

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 December 2020:


News

Unemployment and Covid rising - the crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Mass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

Fight for NHS pay and funding

Rich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

No to Tories' new anti-protest law

Maternity unit deaths - democratic, public ownership needed

Met police investigate British mercenary war crimes against Tamils

No surprise, poverty is rising


Education

Cancel exams for class of Covid

Welsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Effective testing and properly funded safety plan needed in schools

East London shows the way: strikes are how to fight for state education

Determined strikers at Leaways school


Workplace News

Openreach and EE: Massive vote for action

PCS union conference stripped of powers by NEC

Unite launch ballot over sacked London bus rep

Christmas redundancy shock at L&Q housing association

Stop 'fire and rehire' at British Gas


New Technology

Can green technology and AI save capitalism?


Engels

'Socialism - Utopian and Scientific' by Engels


Reports & campaigns

Protests in solidarity with Indian farmers

Book: The national question - a Marxist approach

School boy assaulted by police in Tottenham

TUSC relaunch in the north west

Protest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

Tremendous fighting fund reflects confidence


Quiz

Quiz 2020


 

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Related links:

Schools:

triangleAct together to oppose unsafe numbers and rising workload

triangleEast London Socialist Party: The fight for safe schools

triangleWorkers' action wins Tory U-turn on school safety

triangle3 lockdowns, 20+ U-turns ... We can't trust the Tories

triangleOrganise a mass refusal to attend unsafe schools on Monday

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triangleRolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

trianglePCS Broad Left Network conference: "A BLN-led union will fight and win for members"

triangleGet stuck in to build a fighting, democratic PCS union

Government:

triangleNews in Brief

triangleCovid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

triangleThe Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Welsh Government:

triangleWhere is devolution heading?

triangleWales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

Carmarthenshire:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Trade unions:

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

Education:

triangleRefund student rent and fees

Teachers:

triangleTeachers: On the front line, in their own words

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