Tag Archive for nottingham

Teachers ‘inspect the inspectors’!

Photo0117[1]Stand Up For Education coaltion, involving teachers from NUT and NASUWT unions, have been protesting in Nottingham against Ofsted after 6 schools in Nottingham were suddenly put into special measures.

The unions see this as a politically motivated attack on the schools in Nottingham in an attempt to push for more free schools and academies. Even schools that received over 88% in their teaching were deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

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After a protest in December under the banner “Hands Off our Schools”, teachers went into Ofsted offices to ‘inspect the inspectors’, to question who they were accountable to and to demand they can look at the data collected from the schools in Nottingham.

Ofsted did not allow the teachers in to inspect – a luxury that schools don’t have when they are faced with constant inspections! They have agreed to a meeting with the unions, however, which would not have happened without these protests.

The Socialist Party demands that Ofsted is abolished. Bullying and target-setting are not ways to provide decent education. We also demand an end to and reversal of privatisation and for schools to be run democratically by elected representatives, subject to recall, including school teachers and non-teaching staff, parents, local trade unionists, community organisations and secondary school students. For more info on our demands around education, see: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/campaign/Education/Ofsted/17569

UCU strike: “the money is there, so where’s our share?”

On both of the two hour strikes on Thursday 23rd and Tuesday 28th January, around 50 UCU members and students gathered for protest rallies outside Nottingham Trent University (NTU). The strike is about pay. UCU members were pointing out that whilst they were getting, in reality, a pay cut the vice chancellor’s pay increase meant he was now taking home £320,000 a year. One speaker at the rally asked the strikers, “Is that because he works ten times harder than us?” and was answered by a chorus of “No!”.
 
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Students spoke at the rally to give support to their striking lecturers, making the point that if students are paying £9,000 a year, they would rather that money was going towards decent lecturers, not into the pockets of the vice chancellors! I also spoke to give solidarity from Youth Fight for Jobs and talked about the use of zero-hours contracts on university campuses as well as the future (or lack of) facing young people leaving university.
 
At the second rally, members started to discuss the need to escalate strike action if this dispute is going to be won. NTU is one of 11 universities who are docking a full day’s pay from lecturers walking out for two hours. The aim of the management is to bully and scare UCU members into not taking any action but in fact the opposite has happened – they are more determined to take action and for the next planned two hour strike to be escalated nationally into a full day’s strike as a step towards further action.
 
The strikers finished their rally with chants of “the money is there, so where’s our share?”.

Stand up for education! Hundreds march in Nottingham on teachers strike

“Stand up for education – Gove must go!” is what hundreds of teachers were chanting as they marched through Nottingham on the day of their strike. The well supported march and rally was applauded by passers by as it made it’s way through the streets into the city centre. This made a big difference to the teachers who were saying “it’s good that parents realise we’re striking for their children”.
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One teacher spoke to the Socialist: “It’s a myth that teachers have short working days, long holidays and easy work. We’re concerned that children have enough pressure already, they should enjoy primary school, not be set to figures and results”.
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Many supported the demand for a national strike in November, enthusiastically taking the Socialist Party leaflet, and also the demand for co-ordinated action with other trade unions.

 

Solidarity with firefighters on strike

Members of the Fire Brigade Union took strike action on Wednesday for 4 hours against government plans to force them to work longer (until 60), pay more into their pension and get less money when they retire.
FBU have made it clear that firefighters do not want to take strike action but feel they have no choice in order to defend the service – many people do not have the same fitness level at the age of 60 as they do at the age of 30 and so public safety can be compromised if firefighters have to work longer.
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Around 45 firefighters impressively marched out of Nottinghamshire Central firestation in formation. Members of the public were coming up to the picket line to sign their ‘visitors book’ and bus drivers were honking their horns in support as they drove past.
One striker summed up the mood on the picket line when he said “The government is trying to pick us off one by one, we need to all be out together”. Many firefighters knew teachers who are preparing for strike action next week in the East Midlands and referred to other possible strikes and could see the need for co-ordinating that action.

Women in Nottingham prepare fight against sexism & austerity

Nottingham Feminist Action Network hosted a women’s conference on Saturday for women from around the county to discuss how women can organise to campaign against cuts, objectification and other attacks. There is obviously a lot to be discussed and a great thirst for getting organised as the 140 tickets quickly sold out and there was a waiting list of over 50 women to attend.
Many issues affecting women were raised throughout the day and workshops were held on fighting austerity, victim blaming and objectification in the media. Local campaigns were highlighted, including Rape is No Joke, a campaign launched by Socialist Students, alongside No More Page 3, Million Women Rise and Notts Against the Bedroom Tax.
Around the conference, 41 fringe events took place ranging from poetry nights and plays to discussion events and workshops. Rape Is No Joke supported a very successful comedy night which raised money for Nottingham Rape Crisis and also hosted a discussion on “rape culture” and how we fight it. Sarah Wrack, national organiser of the campaign, outlined what we were organising against, the impact it has on women and why socialists are taking up these issues: that we are trying to build a united struggle of working class people against austerity and for a truly equal society. We attracted 14 new people to that meeting and over the course of the events have had around 35 people who have signed up to support us and want to use Rape Is No Joke to tackle rape culture and misogyny at the universities and in other areas in Nottingham.

PCS strike well supported in Nottingham

Members of PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) who work for the DWP and HMRC were on strike yesterday against cuts to public services. The government is closing HMRC enquiry offices and cutting jobs in DWP.

As part of a week of rolling regional action, PCS members in the Midlands and the South East struck and held rallies across the region. In Nottingham, after holding successful picket lines outside workplaces, strikers then spent time leafleting and petitioning the public outside the JobCentre on Station Street to build the opposition to the closure of HMRC enquiry centres.

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PCS has been instrumental in leading the fightback against the government’s austerity measures by campaigning against the idea that “cuts are necessary” by calling for investment to collect tax and provide decent public services.

Send messages of support to campaigns@pcs.org.uk

Young campaigners holding protest fortnight of action against government cuts

Young people from the campaign Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) have organised a fortnight of action against government cut-backs. In towns up and down the country there will be protests to stop the attacks on education, job opportunities and benefits.

In Nottingham, there will be a protest to bring back EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance) in the Market Square at 12pm on Tuesday 16th October. There will also be a lobby of Poundland (Clumber Street) on Thursday 18th October at 12pm against the company’s participation in the government’s ‘workfare’ scheme – where young people are forced to work 30 hours a week for their 56.25 Job Seekers Allowance.

Starting on Saturday 13th October and ending on Saturday 27th October, the fortnight of action will incorporate the TUC’s ‘March for a Future that Works’ in London on 20th October, where YFJ will be joining hundreds of thousands of trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners in a united demonstration against austerity.

The campaign is also holding an open meeting on Wednesday 24th October at the ICC (YMCA), Mansfield Road at 7pm, with speakers including student activists, young campaigners and trade unionists.

Rich Redmore, YFJ activist in Nottingham, said:

These protests come a week after the Tory Party conference where young people have been offered more years of austerity. Not content with pricing many of us out of education and watching the unemployment rate rise, they now want to take away our ability to live independently by cutting housing benefit for under-25’s.

We will not sit back and allow this government of millionaires to take away our future. We urge all young people, trade unionists, community campaigners and everyone else angry at the coalition’s cuts to join our fortnight of action.”

This action is supported by Nottinghamshire Trades Council, who have encouraged their affiliated members to support the protests. 

Save the DVLA: successful strike at Nottingham office

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) took strike action today against government plans to close all 39 of the DVLA local offices, 10 enforcement centres and 3 processing centres. This would mean there would be no face-to-face services for DVLA customers and would also mean 1,200 job losses.

PCS points out that the government is making these cuts as part of their austerity measures but that it is a false economy. Not only will it put more people on to the dole queue but will also mean a rise in vehicle excise duty evasion which will cost the exchequer tens of millions each year.

In Nottingham, PCS members walked out at 3pm, taking 2 hours of strike action to defend the local office. This is the start of a month of rolling action by PCS in the Department for Transport (DfT).

Jan Watts, DfT Midlands branch secretary, spoke to the Socialist Party:

“It’s been a fantastic success here. All members have walked out apart from two managers. So I’m really proud of every one.

“We’re doing this today because we’re all under attack. It will mean that everything will need to be done via the post or the internet, which we don’t think is a viable service for the public. And also, putting another 1,200 people out of work in this economic climate is completely nonsensical.”

Check out pcs.org.uk/dvlapcs for updates and sign the petition at savethedvla.co.uk

Teachers plan strike at Kimberley School to say ‘no to academies!’

NUT members at Kimberley School, Nottinghamshire have voted for industrial action against the decision for the school to become an academy. The governors had previously ruled out this option but have since done a u-turn.

Notts NUT and Notts Save our Schools oppose the privatisation of schools in the county and are holding a public meeting on the day of the strike, Tuesday 29th May, at 7pm in Kimberley Parish Hall.

Nottingham Socialist Party supports this action taken by teachers. Academy schools are not controlled by the local authorities and are therefore not accountable. They are run for profit by businesses and not for the good of students. It will also mean an attack on teachers’ pay and conditions.

Education needs to be decent and fully funded – kick out the private profiteers!

Further protests against 5 Term Year plans for Nottingham schools

A loud and lively protest took place outside Nottingham City Council’s head office this week, by those teachers, school support staff and parent who oppose the City Council’s plan to alter the school year holiday arrangements.

The protest was organised by the NASUWT teachers union and attended by members of many unions as well as parents and pupils. The main slogan chanted was “Five term year, bad idea!”. The National Union of Teachers has already taken several days of strike action on this issue .

Although at first sight this is a local dispute between unions at Nottingham City and the local council, the issue has national significance not least because the City Council has threatened to force all school staff onto the new working patterns by a ‘dismissal and re-engagement’ process.

Whilst talks between the NUT, City Council and ACAS are currently underway, it does appear the Council is not at this stage prepared to back down. It is essential that the other school unions support the NUT by joining any strike action.

  A group of local parents –PA5TY – is also organising against the Council’s proposals and has already organised a well attended public meeting as well as a protest by parents.