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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2021

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour backs strike-breaking bullies

Oaks Park picket line 15 September, photo Rob Williams

Oaks Park picket line 15 September, photo Rob Williams   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

Illegal strike-breaking, a dossier of testimonials about management bullying, and victimisation of a union rep who fought for Covid safety. Why is the Labour council in Redbridge, east London, still backing bosses at council-run Oaks Park secondary?

Steadfast strikers were back on the picket line from the second week of the new academic year. The National Education Union (NEU) rally on 11 September was even bigger than last term's protest at Redbridge Town Hall.

The strike last term forced the head to call repeated 'sports days' - even enticing former students to cover them with a free lunch. She has now stooped to a new low.

The school apparently called in agency staff to cover the strikers' classes, which is against the law. The NEU alleges that management also falsified the records. The police have received a crime report from the union. No peep from the Labour council.

That same council has received a dossier with harrowing accounts of management bullying, including:

"I had staff almost daily come into my office crying..." "The staff turnover rate is alarming, staff morale at an all-time low..." "I was physically sick on the way to work most days due to anxiety..." "I have never experienced as toxic an atmosphere as the one at Oaks Park..."

These stories - and worse - can be heard on emotional Oaks Park picket lines. It is outrageous, but sadly inevitable, that some stories feature students as well as staff.

Strikers cornered the council's director of education, Colin Stewart, on the 8 September picket line. He denied the avalanche of testimonials amounts to a pattern of bullying!

This is after the chair of governors stood next to bosses accused of bullying and demanded bullied staff explain their allegations.

Meanwhile, sacked union rep Keiran Mahon has still not received justice. He faced dismissal within months of his election.

He and other NEU members had invoked 'Section 44' health-and-safety law at the height of the pandemic. They protected lives by refusing to enter unsafe, packed classrooms and instead taught remotely.

The union makes a clear argument that the supposed case against Keiran is grossly overstated and contradictory. But there has been no serious engagement with this by a school management which put lives at risk during the pandemic.

At the rally on 11 September, Labour was warned. NEU executive and Socialist Party member Louise Cuffaro said: "There are elections coming. Watch out!

"We won't be voting for you. We'll be voting for people from the community, from the trade union movement, who are prepared to stand up and fight back."

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In The Socialist 15 September 2021:


NHS

Take the wealth off the super-rich to fund: NHS and social care, pay and benefit rises

Deaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

On the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

Solidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin


What we think

We need a new political party for workers and youth

What's behind the worker shortages, and what can be done about it?


Climate change

Climate change, capitalism, and the struggle for socialism


Youth and students

We won't pay for capitalism's failings

Scrap tuition fees - end university marketization

Returning to campus: Students need to stand up and fight

Campaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

Youth Fight for Jobs launches campaign in Brighton


Workplace news

NSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour backs strike-breaking bullies

Save jobs and services - nationalise rail

Weetabix - workers have had enough

Carmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union, now!'

Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action


News

Social care plans: A sticking plaster instead of surgery

Hands off the Universal Credit uplift

Unite young and old to defend the pensions triple lock


Campaigns

Putting socialism on the map in Chichester

Reclaiming Pride as protest in Nottingham

Fighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme


Review

Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

TV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story


 

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Related links:

Labour:

triangleGoodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action

trianglePutting socialism on the map in Chichester

triangleWe need a new political party for workers and youth

triangleEquity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

triangleStarmer's New Blairism consolidates

Strike:

triangleSolidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

triangleDHL workers to strike against wage theft

triangleBexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

triangleWoolwich ferry strikers - the action necessary to win

School:

triangleFighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

triangleUnion action needed to make schools Covid safe

triangleExam results: grade gap widens

Union:

triangleCarmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union, now!'

triangleNSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

Council:

triangleFighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme

Bullying:

triangleSt Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

15/9/21

Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union, now!'

15/9/21

Oxford

Campaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

15/9/21

Youth Fight for Jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs launches campaign in Brighton

15/9/21

Chichester

Putting socialism on the map in Chichester

15/9/21

Nottingham

Reclaiming Pride as protest in Nottingham

15/9/21

Hospitals

Solidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

15/9/21

Fighting Fund

Fighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme

15/9/21

NHS

On the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

15/9/21

Review

TV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story

15/9/21

Labour

Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action

15/9/21

Labour

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour backs strike-breaking bullies

15/9/21

Jobs

Save jobs and services - nationalise rail

15/9/21

Workers

Weetabix - workers have had enough

15/9/21

Youth Fight for Jobs

We won't pay for capitalism's failings

15/9/21

NSSN

NSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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