The tenth issue of Education Worker, the bulletin of the Education Workers Network of SolFed focuses on victimisation in education, including articles on victimisation of NUT reps, the Halesowen Four and London Met.
The North and South London Locals of the Solidarity Federation extend our solidarity to the workers at Queen Mary University. With the threat of redundancies across campus, workers have become energised, linked up with students, and exhibited a growing degree of organisation. In response, university management have suspended the Queen Mary UNISON branch secretary on trumped up disciplinary charges.
While the Solidarity Federation recognises the power of the union rests not in its officials, but in an active and self-organised membership, management clearly believe they can defeat their workforce by 'beheading' the union. Such attacks must be resisted.
Today saw SolFedders join with some 100 members of the public to support an unofficial strike by University of London cleaners at Senate House. The cleaners, who are primarily Latin American immigrants and who are employed by the privateer Balfour Beatty, struck over unpaid wages. With some cleaners not having been paid for three months, it was decided yesterday that official union channels weren’t working and the workers called for a strike to begin today at 8am.
After the last UCU pensions strike in March, several rank & file union members, upset at the lack of inter-union unity, set up the Manchester University Staff Against the Cuts group (MUSAC). The group has been meeting regularly and consists of members of Unite, Unison and UCU. Members of Manchester EWN are also involved.
It has been good to meet with people whose criticisms of the existing unions match our own in many ways. The group has held a weekly stall in the University, giving out leaflets in support of various anti-cut campaigns.
The experience of sacked nurse Karen Reissmann, and the inability of industrial action to achieve her reinstatement, serves as a timely reminder of the shortcomings of today’s unions in their ability, desire and commitment to effectively support workers in struggle. But all is not lost and for the anarcho-syndicalist solution to the tyranny of capitalism and yet more sell-outs, read on!
Despite the tenacity of Karen’s local Unison branch, who remained on strike up until her appeal, the response of the union nationally in promoting solidarity for her cause was pitiful. In fact, the wholly inadequate response from the Unison leadership contributed to the defeat of the strike every bit much as the actions of the Primary Care Trust bosses themselves.
The academics’ union UCU at the University of Sussex cancelled industrial action planned for late June after university bosses declared they were “hopeful” they could avoid any compulsory redundancies.
It soon emerged however that compulsory redundancies had been transformed into ‘voluntary’ ones and the number of job losses remained at over 100, with a similarly severe impact on many courses and workloads expected.
One student mocked the management statement: “We are pleased to announce that the 100 have jumped, and were not pushed. The knives to their backs were unrelated.” A lecturer also commented that “I, among many, have been made ‘voluntarily’ redundant, after being selected for compulsory redundancy. The University seems to have got rid of everyone it wanted by forcing us to accept a ‘voluntary’ settlement.”
8-page leaflet looking at what we can learn from the 2007 postal strike, the 2008 public sector strike and the 2009 Visteon occupation.
The leaflet was produced for a demo against the Labour Party Conference on Sunday 27th September. It is based on several previously published articles and we try to draw the lessons of recent relevant struggles in the UK.
For Workers’ Control
Lessons of recent struggles in the UK
Recent years have seen promising signs of a working class fightback, after decades of attacks on working class living standards.