hagblog.jpg  The Picket Line at Haggerston Park School The following is a report from Haggerston Park School in London, where teachers are taking part in ongoing strike action against job cuts It is likely to be the shape of things to come in the UK as education spending is due to be slashed in the coming period. The report is from Kate Ford, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) rep at the school: Haggerston School Strike action to continue to defend jobs!

This week saw two more days of strike action at Haggerston School in Hackney. Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are fighting against compulsory redundancies. Six teachers have been told they will be made redundant in December. The school governors claim that there is not enough money in the budget to pay for this group of highly experienced teachers, but they can’t explain how the school frittered away a surplus of £1.3 million in just one year.

In reality this is a case of a school management targeting strong union members who are prepared to stand up for their own rights and the rights of other workers. Haggerston NUT has a proud tradition of refusing to cross picket lines and has been prepared to take unofficial action to support fellow workers, including kitchen staff who work for Sodexho who were being paid below the minimum wage.

The strikes, one last week and two days this week, have had excellent support. Haggerston NUT members have been on the picket line from 6am each morning and the picket lines have been supported by teachers and pupils at the school. Year 10 pupils have been on every picket line – some getting up at 4am to ensure they arrived at school on time! This week they brought along violins and guitars and performed for the pickets.

We have been joined on the picket lines by members of other unions and parents. Haggerston NUT would also like to thank all those people in the NUT and in other unions who have sent messages of support.

On Tuesday the theme of the picket line was the French Revolution as the strike took place on Bastille Day 14th July. Each year at the school members of the Modern Languages Department dress up in revolutionary dress and encourage everyone to wear revolutionary rosettes. Although this year we were not in the school but outside, we decided to continue with the tradition. On the picket line strikers ate croissants and strong black coffee, listened to Edith Piaf and ending the picket with a rousing chorus of both the Marseillaise and the L’Internationale.

The strikes are set to continue into September when school begins after the summer holiday. Two days of strike action are planned for the second week in September and another two days in the following week. All are welcome to join the picket lines!