Schools

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

July has seen a number of interesting and potentially important developments in the ongoing dispute between rail unions and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and the government over Driver Only Operation (DOO).

DOO fight spreads; staff cuts put passengers at risk; reinstate the Picturehouse Four!; uncertainty at Forest Hill; Barts workers strike again.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Simon Marks, Ken Worthington, Ollie Moore, Simon Nelson and Gemma Short

A primary school in Sheffield is to become the first to get rid of all its teaching assistants. As part of a cost-cutting restructure, unions claim the school is planning on sacking its nine teaching assistants.

Sheefield primary scraps all teaching assistants; London hospital outsourced workers fight low pay; Kirkleees social workers strike; Durham teaching assistants reject deal; train drivers support guards’ strike; Tube workers strike for permanent jobs; defend the Picturehouse Four!; Mike Ashley drinks and vomits while workers suffer; teachers’ pay still frozen.

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The right to be cool

Author: 

Simon Nelson

June 2017 was the hottest June for 176 years. Across Europe temperatures went up to 38°C, and groups of school children and workers defied instructions and wore skirts to school and work to try and keep cool.

Children and workers wear skirts to school and work to keep cool.

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School cuts cause school week cuts

Author: 

Gerry Bates

A number of UK schools have decided to shorten the school week to deal with budget crises. A primary school in Leicestershire is the latest to announce it will end the school week on Friday lunchtime. A Essex secondary school has decided students will get an hour less teaching a week and is considering cutting back subject time for PE and PSHE. Instead of squeezing top pay, schools are cutting the number of staff.

Schools are already facing budget crises severe enough to make them cut the school week.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Cinema workers at East Dulwich Picturehouse in south London will strike on Saturday 27 May to coincide with the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. Workers at the other cinemas involved in the dispute have just voted for further strikes, and will be on strike on 3-4 June to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, which Picturehouse hosts.

Cinema workers protest at Cineworld AGM; Argos warehouse workers strike; students support lecturers’ strike; train companies threaten striking guards; LSE threatens cleaners; school strikes suspended.

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Labour: rebuild the welfare state

Author: 

Gemma Short

The welfare state created by the 1945 Labour government was a little bit of the “political economy of the working class” carved out of a still capitalist economy (a phrase Karl Marx first used to describe the victory of the fight for a ten-hour working day).

To some extent the ruling class has been forced to accept a minimal level of state provision. There is a constant battle over what proportion of profits is redirected, over who should receive support, and what sort of support is given. The ruling class has been winning that battle for some time.

The Labour manifesto is a significant shift from decades of neo-liberal consensus where the “political economy of the ruling class”, the rule of the market in every aspect of our lives, has almost destroyed the “political economy of the working class” carved out of capitalism in the shape of the welfare state.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

RMT members on Northern rail struck again on 28 April. The strike was every bit as solid as the previous two days’ action, reducing the company’s service to 40% of its usual level, with scab labour being provided by managers.

The union is yet to announce its next move. It will need to think carefully about what to do next, taking into account the various different situations at different Train Operating Companies around the country.

Drivers crucial to DOO fight; teachers turn up heat on council; RMT protests at sweatshop hotel; Picturehouse can afford to pay!; Tube news round-up.

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How to think beyond and survive the exam season

Author: 

Daisy Thomas

A report on 2 May from the Health and Education Committee of MPs found that government cuts are pushing many schools to scrap or limit mental health help in schools. Daisy Thomas explains why that help is important.

There are a range of mindfulness resources for adults and young people which can start to change the way that mental health is approached, especially in schools.

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Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

The Daily Mail front page headline on 19 April summed up how Theresa May sees the election serving her Brexit drive: “Crush the saboteurs”. That is, strengthen her position against all who ask questions, raise criticisms, demand information.

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Free schools poor value for money

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

The government’s free schools programme has been condemned as “incoherent and too often poor value for money” by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee.

The committee’s recent report says that the Department for Education is spending “over the odds” on unsuitable sites and building free schools in areas where extra places are not always needed. On the other hand, 60% of state schools are more than forty years old and in need of essential repairs amounting to an estimated £7 billion.

The Department of Education spent £863 million on 175 free school sites between 2011 and 2016. 24 of the sites cost more than £10 million and four cost more than £30 million.

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