Solidarity helps striking teachers to victory

29 September 2009

Teachers from a college in east London have thanked other union activists for their support after their four-week strike ended in success.

About 250 University and College Union members from Tower Hamlets college – 90% of the workforce – had been on strike against education cuts.

The college management was trying cut places on English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses and reduce tutorial times.

Addressing PCS reps before a civil service compensation scheme briefing at PCS headquarters last week, UCU activists Richard Palser and Wojtek Dmochowski also said there were plans to cut 33 full-time posts and increase casualisation of staff.

As the October edition of Activate went to press a deal was agreed which means there will be no compulsory redundancies, more than 300 ESOL places will be saved, and there will be no cuts to A level hours.

Speaking at the Jobs, Education, Peace rally in Brighton on Sunday, UCU Tower Hamlets branch secretary Richard McEwan thanked fellow trade unionists for their support and solidarity, and said they had raised more than £20,000 for their hardship fund.

"It shows that when we stand together, we can win," Richard said.

At the meeting at PCS HQ, ESOL teacher Wojtek said cuts would have a dramatic impact on Tower Hamlets.

“None of the people living there will have any access to jobs for the Olympics if they don’t speak English,” he said.

The meeting was one of several across the country to brief reps about the compensation scheme proposals, to prepare for members’ meetings to frame the next steps of our campaign.

The deadine for responses to the Cabinet Office's consultation is Monday 5 October 2009.


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