Victory! Grimethorpe dinner ladies' strike beats job cuts
Angie Waller, Barnsley Socialist Party
The striking dinner ladies, teaching assistants and kitchen staff at Ladywood Primary School in Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire ended their all-out strike on Thursday 29 November. School management has backed down and withdrawn plans to make nine dinner ladies redundant.
The members of public service union Unison reached an agreement with school management which plugs the claimed budget deficit without any redundancies. The strikers have taken - in total - 36 days of action since September.
The dinner ladies and their union had always said the job cuts were unnecessary. The school had hired additional teaching and support staff.
Management's intention was to use teaching assistants to supervise lunchtimes instead, as well as setting children extracurricular activities. An added insult was the head paying to train her own dog from school funds!
Other school workers took the view that the dinner ladies are valued by the children, staff and parents. They were not prepared to see their family, friends and colleagues out of work.
This is a crucial win for all school workers around the country. The strikers have shown that you can't mess with people's livelihoods and not expect a fightback!
The dinner ladies have thanked all those who supported them, and say the solidarity helped keep them strong and determined to win.
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