Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1139/32694
From The Socialist newspaper, 23 June 2021
Oaks Park school strike stands strong against bully bosses
Workers on strike to defend victimised reps at Oak Park school (Click to enlarge)
James Ivens, East London Socialist Party
Bully bosses looked agitated as Oaks Park High School pickets belted out 'Solidarity Forever' to the peals of a union rep's trumpet on 22 June.
That Tuesday was the second strike day at the council-run secondary in Redbridge, east London. The National Education Union (NEU) is defending a sacked rep and three other staff victimised for exercising 'Section 44' health-and-safety rights.
Assistant heads policed the gates like bouncers. Students filed past a loud and spirited picket line demanding: "Stop the bullying!" The culture under the new head has led to the departure of many longer-standing staff and fear in the workplace.
The borough's Labour council has opposed the union, siding with the bullying senior leadership team. As we go to press, strikers plan to march on Redbridge Town Hall on 23 June. If Labour councillors refuse to stand up for workers, trade unionists should consider standing independent candidates against them.
The strike has caused significant disruption, with classes packed together in the sports hall. This flies in the face of Covid safety as case numbers rise - and underlines management's blasť attitude to student and staff welfare. Bosses even brought back older students with the promise of a free lunch to supervise 'sports day', as cover for the striking staff!
Despite the culture of fear and strike-breaking efforts, numbers on the picket line remain strong. But naturally, the bullying is not limited to the staff.
One picket told the strike rally that a senior manager had recently remarked on a student's skirt length: "Don't you have any dignity?" Standing up for herself, the student asked "does it make you uncomfortable, sir?" He reportedly replied: "Extremely!"
School workers were outraged at this sexist attack. They also noted that white students with skirts of the same length were not subjected to similar comments.
Louise Cuffaro, newly elected to the NEU's national executive committee, joined fellow Socialist Party members on the picket line. "The very solidarity you're feeling here is the solidarity you should be feeling every single day in the staff room!"
But "you have to fight to get the time to get the break in the staff room!" The fights against bullying and intolerable workload are fights the NEU must take up nationally.
The next planned strike days are Tuesday 29 June to Thursday 1 July.
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In The Socialist 23 June 2021:
What we think
Chesham and Amersham by-election
NHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'
Outsourced London hospital workers fight for better pay
Leicester private healthcare tragedy
Exeter Trades Council backs NHS protests
Northern Ireland and Brexit
Sacking non-vaccinated care workers will not save lives
Furlough reduction risks job losses
Building back better? Fight for a socialist recovery
Anti-protest bill breaches human rights
Tories deliberately underfund childcare
Unite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham
NSSN conference 2021
NSSN conference 2021: When given a lead workers will fight
Women and the criminal 'injustice' system
Tory review won't deliver justice for rape victims
Iran's presidential election
Are Biden's immigration policies a break with Trump's?
Interview with newly elected Unison NEC member and hospital worker
Gateshead: Bosses sack sparks protesting for safety measures
Oaks Park school strike against bully bosses
Leicestershire engineers' fifth week of strikes against fire and rehire
DVLA dispute: Escalation needed
Warehouse workers fight 50% cut in redundancy pay
Carmarthenshire: Fighting for trade union recognition at council-owned company
TUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns
Youth Fight For Jobs: more urgent than ever
London Socialist Party young members' day school
'Socialism is the hope of the world'
Fighting Fund target smashed!
Book review: Shuggie Bain
Response to Observer article on China
The Socialist 23 June 2021 |
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