Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/531/4055
Socialist councillors back teachers
LEWISHAM'S COUNCIL meeting was on the eve of the teachers' strike. The Socialist Party councillors proposed a motion, arguing that education was threatened "by the erosion of teachers' pay and conditions" and called on the government "to reconsider the proposed pay award".
The Liberal Democrats moved an amendment replacing this with a call on ministers to "address the issue of teacher workload" which, they argued, is having the biggest impact on teacher morale.
Ian Page, replying to the debate, agreed that teachers' workload was a vital issue. But teachers were taking their first national strike action since the days of Margaret Thatcher over what was effectively a pay cut.
Ian added that while the Lib Dems said they were 'sympathetic' about pay, "it isn't rocket science - you don't actually need that much of an education - to see that deleting the clear call to re-consider the pay award" was siding with New Labour.
The Lib Dems' real attitude was shown when their amendment was defeated. With the Green councillors supporting Chris and Ian's motion, the 16 Liberal Democrats could have voted to defeat the 19 New Labour councillors still present in the chamber, making Lewisham the first council in England to back the teachers' case.
Instead they abstained. Their education spokesperson, councillor Julia Fletcher, in the week of the £50 billion bail-out of the banks, asked where the money could come from to pay the teachers!
The establishment parties really are all the same.
In The Socialist 30 April 2008:
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