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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 July 2021

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

Valence picket line, photo James Ivens

Valence picket line, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Jay Coward, East London Socialist Party

School workers at Valence Primary School in Dagenham, east London are on strike against grim mistreatment through 'fire and rehire' pay cuts and demotions.

Management at this community school - run by a Labour council - plans detrimental changes to the lives of Valence Primary staff. These include forcing teachers to reapply for positions they already hold but with less pay and benefits, and proposing pay cuts or demotions for a third of the workforce.

The need for a working-class political alternative to the Tories and Labour is clear from the role of multiple Labour councils like this one backing attacks on school workforces.

On the picket line it's evident that the workers at Valence Primary are full of passion for the children they teach and supportive of one another and their students' parents. School workers have suffered years of real-terms pay cuts from austerity, then put their lives on the line in the pandemic. They should be getting pay rises, not cuts and demotions!

Driven out

The workforce could be demoralised by this abuse, and some could end up driven out. This would also lower the quality of care and education for the students, and increase further the workload for remaining staff.

After management refused to listen, the school workers rightly decided to stand up for themselves collectively. The Barking and Dagenham branch of the National Education Union is due to hold its fifth and sixth days of strike action in three weeks as we go to press.

The NEU is picking up new members in the school, and the union is fully prepared to call further action if there is not meaningful negotiation from the employer.

East London Socialist Party is completely in support of the Valence Primary strike.

Schools across the country are facing similar circumstances, after years of the government driving down conditions without a national fightback being led by the unions. The same support Valence has had is required nationally for the good of school workers and a proper education system for the working class.

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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 14 July 2021:


NHS

NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise

Scrap the privatising health and care bill

Tories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers


Covid

We cannot trust this government over Covid: Fight for a new workers' party

Trade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety


LGBTQ+

Pride is protest - Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

LGBTQ+ workers' charter


Workplace news

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

Brush workers into eighth week of strike

Workplace round-up


International

New wave of radicalisation in Latin America

Putting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

Kazakhstan: Solidarity with protesters attacked by regime forces


News

Keep the Universal Credit uplift

Defend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Wealth chasm widens

Right-wing study concludes youth like socialism


Campaigns

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Stop Pimlico gentrification

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Readers' opinion

England football team

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Readers' comments


 

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