Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
“We’re warriors!” That’s how a union member at Walthamstow Primary Academy described their approach to the strike. What makes these women workers so formidable is their determination.
When the weather came in on the side of the employer, and so the picnic they’d planned as a chance to speak to parents was rained off, they didn’t accept defeat. They improvised and came up with a plan that striking teachers everywhere could use – a picket picnic at the end of the school day when parents have more time.
Chatting over chocolate muffins allowed parents to get the strikers’ perspective. The solidarity built over buns has strengthened the strike and piled pressure on management.
The following Tuesday the atmosphere on the picket was even better, with parents and students greeting strikers with even more warmth and support.
The parents know the teachers have their kids’ interests at heart. They are looking at ways they can help the strike to win its demands to end unequal pay and bullying in the school. No one wants that environment for their children’s education.
Striking workers have reported that during the strike, classes are being asked to stay at home, or are covered by unqualified teachers, or even by parents or lunchtime supervisors! But parents have been told that education is continuing as normal. This is despite strikers offering to discuss compromises, and seeking conversations to end the strike.
Negotiations are ongoing. Victory to the WPA warriors!