Hackney education workers strike

Workers in two separate industrial disputes affecting schools in east London will take three days of strike action in February.

Ten teaching support staff at the Colvestone primary school and the Thomas Fairchild community school, part of the Hackney-based Soaring Skies Federation which educates more than 600 children, will strike over potentially more than 18 jobs being at risk out of about 30-strong teaching support staff.

32 drivers and passenger assistants, who take disabled children to and from school in Hackney also voted unanimously to strike over the failure of their employer, the borough council, to make a one-off £500 Covid-19 payment, and other health and safety issues.

Both strikes will begin on 10 February continuing each day up to 12 February.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab says: “These two long-running disputes are coming home to roost for the respective employers in Hackney when education is at the top of the political agenda.

“The failures of both sets of employers to engage in constructive talks with Unite has left our members with no option but to reluctantly take strike action over three days in February – hopefully, the dovetailing of these two disputes will concentrate minds.

“Our door for meaningful talks remains open 24/7. However, we cannot stand by while jobs, pay and employment conditions are cut – and our members should not pay the price for the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The health crisis has correctly focused on the importance of education from the prime minister downwards. The teaching assistants at Soaring Skies Federation are still working during the current school closures – in many cases, attending school sites to supervise children of key workers, while remote learning takes place.

“The same dedication is also true of the drivers and passenger assistants working for Hackney council. They are continuing to take the children of key workers and vulnerable children to school during the pandemic. We are now asking for a one-off lump-sum payment in recognition of this work.”

Unite is liaising with the other unions concerned about the plans in the Soaring Skies Federation dispute – GMB, National Education Union (NEU) and Unison.

Sage care strike

photo UVW/Twitter

photo UVW/Twitter   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Care workers from Sage Nursing Home in Golders Green, north London, are to strike again from 4 to 8 February. They are striking for parity with their counterparts in the NHS – a pay rise to £12 an hour and the same level of sick pay and annual leave.

They staged a three-day strike in January. The workers are members of the trade union United Voices of the World (UVW).

Although the employer has said that it is unable to meet the strikers’ demands, Sage can easily afford to pay up.

In February 2020, Sage boasted that its income had risen to £3.3 million, with another £3.2 million reserves.

Passport walkout

Passport control staff at Heathrow Airport have voted for strike action in a dispute over new rosters.

Members of the PCS union backed industrial action by more than nine to one in a ballot.

The union said new “unworkable” rosters are being imposed without agreement and that more than 400 of its members are involved in the dispute.