Defend Victimised Teachers

Posted in Janine's blog on Mon, 09/07/2007 - 14:53,

35 teachers at Haggerston School in Hackney face disciplinary action for refusing to cross a Unite!/T&G picket line of striking school meals workers. You can read all about it on Hackney TUC's website. Below is an email I have just sent to the head teacher.


I am writing with great concern having heard about disciplinary action against Haggerston School teachers for respecting school meals' staff's picket lines.

I believe that these teachers deserve praise, rather than discipline, for their actions. The school meals workers, most of whom are black women, are super-exploited by their ruthless employer, Sodexho, and are paid significantly less than workers doing the same job in other Hackney schools. It is Sodexho's meanness which forced the school meals workers to act, and faced with a picket line, teachers had to decide whether they supported the rip-off employer or their workmates. They chose to support their workmates.

If Haggerston School wishes to take action against anyone, it should be against Sodexho, who are treating with contempt people who should be valued members of your school's staff. By treating school meals workers so badly, Sodexho is also showing contempt for the right of school students to decent nutrition and non-academic services. If you want to sack anyone, sack Sodexho. Give the contract to a company which will pay its staff a decent, living wage - or better still, lobby the Council to bring school meals services back in-house.

Janine Booth
Hackney Trades Union Council

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