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1 June 2011

Lewisham teachers - Action threat spells victory

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive member, personal capacity

Two small but significant victories for Lewisham NUT, south London, have shown how an organised response - and the threat of union action - can achieve success in fighting the threat of cuts and redundancies.

Just as a ballot for strike action was about to be issued to NUT members at Deptford Green school over the threat to issue a redundancy notice to a member in the art department, the school agreed that it would, after all, be able to redeploy the teacher internally.

Previously, our demands to find continuing work within the school had been rejected.

This came after the news that Lewisham council would be saving the posts threatened to be cut from the nationally-renowned Lewisham Early Years Advice and Resource Network. This follows a public campaign to safeguard this vital resource coupled with an indicative ballot of NUT members across council schools and workplaces which produced an 86% 'yes' vote in support of authority-wide strike action.

There are more battles to come - including continuing threats to children's centres and to oppose the redundancy of an NUT member at another secondary school. Ballot papers are going out to NUT members at Forest Hill school but staff have already shown their support in a 60-strong rally held on a Friday lunchtime.

NUT and PCS members in Lewisham are also balloting for strike action to defend pensions. With the support of Goldsmiths UCU and student union, we are holding a rally on 20 June.

Stop the pensions robbery - all out on 30 June

Public meeting: 20 June, 6.30pm. Goldsmiths College student union, Dixon Road, New Cross.
Speakers include Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary