Education unions

Industrial news in brief

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Maria O’Toole, Paul Abbot and Gemma Short

The Durham teaching assistants and Derby school support staff disputes have been the most significant in local government over the last year. Similar pay cuts of approximately 25%; threats of, or in Derby’s case the actual, imposition of new contracts; Labour councils doing the dirty work for the Tories and spearheading these acts; but on the workers side a strong determination to resist.

Teaching Assistants demonstrate in Durham; Tube station staff balloted for strikes; cinema strikes win celebrity support; not our deficit!

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Industrial news in brief

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Justine Canady, UCLU Women’s Officer-elect (personal capacity), Simon Nelson and Luke Hardy

UCL Student Union’s senior management have agreed cuts in the region of 90k to the cleaning budget. Secura Clean, the company contracted to carry out UCLU cleaning, have promised there will be no redundancies. However, hours will be drastically cut, meaning that some cleaners possibly losing one-third of their hours.

Student union cuts cleaners’ hours; sacked for using holy water?; Picturehouse strikes spread to six cinemas; teachers say: “not our deficit!”; sacked for organising.

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Derby Council climbdown leaves problems

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By Ralph Peters

On 15 to 17 March there was a dramatic reversal of the bullying and confrontational attitude that Derby’s Labour Council had until then shown to Unison in the 10 month long dispute with school support staff.

The sudden change followed several weeks in which increasing solidarity had been shown towards the school support staff. Local support for them in the community of Derby had always been strong and personal support of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell had been known for a long time. But in the local Labour Party there had been none.

Derby Council has offered the TAs a deal. But problems remain.

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Oxford left debates Israel boycott

Kate Ferguson

Despite Sue Blackwell’s media notoriety, Hilary Rose is probably the most prominent spokesperson of the movement for an academic boycott of Israel. Her visit to a meeting organised by the Oxford branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in May therefore provided left activists in the city with a valuable opportunity to debate the issues surrounding the boycott intelligently. Unfortunately, it was a missed opportunity.

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Dewsbury lecturers strike

By a college lecturer

Over one hundred lecturers at Dewsbury College took strike action on 24 and 25 May in anger at management’s refusal to make any firm proposals regarding the implementation of the nationally agreed Further Education (FE) lecturers’ pay deal.

The deal would see the introduction of a new, shorter pay scale across all colleges and would also narrow the pay gap between lecturers and teachers in schools. As Cathy Clarkson, a member of the lecturers’ union NATFHE at Dewsbury College commented,

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Now mobilise NATFHE for links, not boycott!

By Mark Osborn

On 26 May, a special conference of the Association of University Teachers voted by a four-to-one majority to overturn the “targeted” academic boycott of Israeli universities which the regular conference of the union had narrowly agreed on a snap vote, without debate, in April.

However, the stance taken by the conference of the other lecturers’ union NATFHE the following weekend suggests that the issue — and the need for a campaign on it — is not going to go away.

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The “rich Jews” bogeyman resurfaces (2005)

An open letter to Sue Blackwell, leader of the AUT pro-boycotters of Israel.

An open letter to Sue Blackwell, leader of the AUT pro-boycotters

“There has been a massive and well funded campaign against us and incredible pressure put upon members in the run up to this debate.” Sue Blackwell on the defeat of the academic boycott of Israel, in the Guardian, 27 May.

Dear Sue,

I’ve known you for two years. I know you as a sane, committed, long-time socialist. A socialist who long ago saw through and broke away from the demagogy and mindlessness of the SWP — with the exception of one momentous political question, the Israeli-Arab conflict.

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Hackney College strike

Lecturers at Hackney Community College have taken strike action over planned redundancies.

The college has a £1.6 million deficit, and has been threatening job cuts for some time - they had said, through voluntary severance. Now compulsory redundancies have been announced.

The job cuts affect many college departments, including teacher training, special needs, adult literacy, ceramics and pottery, and sign language courses. Some courses - such as art, dance and drama -will be made full-fee, making them unaffordable to many in the local community.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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What is at stake, sector by sector

By kate Ahrens

In local government, Unison, TGWU, Amicus and UCATT are taking action on 23 March following votes for strike ranging from 70% to 83%. Alongside them will be the civil service union PCS, and even the small senior civil service union FDA, who had not had a strike ballot in 20 years but have voted to take action now. NIPSA, the Northern Ireland public services union, is also taking action.

Education unions are now balloting and NATFHE and NUT are discussing an “education” day of strike action in late April, with NUT proposing 26 April.

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