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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 March 2021

Beal academy strikers demand equal sick pay

Picket line at Beal academy. Photo: Glenn Kelly

Picket line at Beal academy. Photo: Glenn Kelly   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

"What do we want? Justice! When do want it? Now!" Strikers at Beal High School in Redbridge, east London, are demanding an end to two-tier sick pay.

Bosses at the privately run 'academy' give staff employed after 2016 a fraction of the nationally agreed sick leave.

Workers with serious conditions like Covid or cancer can even face disciplinaries.

It's yet another attack on school conditions hidden in Tory and Blairite education 'reforms'. Management has refused to discuss the injustice.

40 members of the school's National Education Union (NEU) group picketed on Thursday 25 March. The action closed the school.

Spirits were high. As with so many school strikes, it gave overworked teachers and teaching assistants their first opportunity to discuss and socialise in a long time.

Management, however, did not share the strikers' relief and confidence. They called the police down to patrol the picket line for PPE and social distancing.

School workers are already keenly aware of infection dangers due to their often overcrowded and poorly ventilated classrooms. Their picket line was perfectly safe. Meanwhile, school bosses stood glowering at the gates, without masks and not distancing.

Louise Cuffaro, secretary of neighbouring Newham NEU and a member of the Socialist Party, spoke at the strike rally to give solidarity. School workers in Newham have faced the same attack - academisation used to undermine national union agreements on pay and conditions.

Strikes in Newham defeated those attacks. In fact, because of Newham NEU's recent record in leading industrial action, just winning the strike ballot was enough to force management back.

The national leadership of the NEU should learn from the anger and confidence of strikers in Newham and Redbridge. Louise and others are standing in the union's national executive committee elections in April to bring that fighting experience and bold leadership.

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In The Socialist 31 March 2021:


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London - We need socialists into City Hall

Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!


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Freeports spell deregulation, low pay and a new race to the bottom

No start for life


Right to protest

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Defending the right to protest


Socialist analysis

Preparing for the revolts to come


NHS

Cumberland hospital workers fight for stolen pay

NHS pay: 15% now!


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Trade union fighters rally to support victimised workers

BT Openreach engineers step up the pressure with five-day strike action

Asda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

SPS Technologies workers strike against potential pay loss of 3,000 a year

Deskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

Beal academy strikers demand equal sick pay

Goodlord strike starts to bite

Nationalise Liberty Steel to save jobs

British Gas workers strike ahead of 'fire and rehire' deadline


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Online rally - 150 years since the Paris Commune

Selling the Socialist

Donate now to fuel our election campaigns


Readers' opinion

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and democracy

Socialist Liverpool City Council inspired me

Women, violence and defiance

The Socialist Inbox


 

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