James Ivens, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
Private school workers in Walthamstow, east London, went back on strike from 8 March to save their pensions.
The picket line outside Forest School was big, just like the first strike day on 23 February. Members of the NEU and NASUWT unions are surprised to find themselves taking action. But the bosses’ pension cuts would put them on worse conditions than even the state sector!
Forest School management has treated staff like idiots. According to pickets, bosses made “vague promises” after the last strike day – but then “tried to force the contracts down our throats” with the same cuts.
These workers aren’t having it. Nor, it seems, are parents, who were very receptive of the unions’ leaflets.
The Forest School strike is on top of a separate dispute in a group of 23 other private schools nationally. A sign of the times!
Meanwhile, the strike wave rumbles on. There are other NEU disputes at two east London schools in the state system, and a dispute brewing among Waltham Forest bin workers. The regional strikes by train cleaners and night tube drivers continue. University workers are gearing up for further action nationally.
A meeting of Waltham Forest Trades Council on 1 March drew many of these disputes together, alongside the historic Unite victory at Barts NHS Trust. The TUC nationally should do the same job. Link up the strikes to defeat the cost-of-living crisis!