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Posted on 18 January 2011 at 12:36 GMT

Teachers step up Rotherham school strikes

Striking teachers at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham , photo Alastair Tice

Striking teachers at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham , photo Alastair Tice

The strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff continued last week at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham. Over 30 redundancies are proposed, to reduce the school's debt.

Chris Bingham, Rotherham Socialist Party

In a public meeting on Tuesday 11 January, called by a local campaign group, Rotherham NUT divisional secretary John Dalton said that his contact with the school Head and management had not been productive, as their focus was solely on the figures.

As John pointed out, the deficit (thought to be around £1.3 million, though this is not clear) was a result of local authority policy and they should be held to account.

The pupils and Rawmarsh community at large, not to mention the teachers, should not be forced to pay for mismanagement.

NUT strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham, photo by Alastair Tice

NUT strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham, photo by Alastair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

The mornings of the 12th and 13th January saw nearly 40 pickets outside the school gates, with supportive responses from passing traffic, for the second and third days of strike action.

The numbers were bolstered by the presence of teachers who had left other non-striking unions (NAS/UWT, ATL) to join the NUT and the strike.

It is a strange irony that the Rawmarsh NAS/UWT rep is one of the teachers set to lose her job, yet the NAS/UWT divisional secretary stood with the Head inside the school gates to "make sure [his] members were not intimidated by NUT strikers"!

Such savage cuts will be disastrous and for them to be imposed mid-year shows a disregard for the students, their families and the working class community that is hard to reconcile with the 'we're all in it together' propaganda line.

NUT strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham, photo by Alastair Tice

NUT strike against the loss of a third of teaching and support staff at Rawmarsh Community School, Rotherham, photo by Alastair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

And there is no sign of that line working in Rawmarsh. Only one parent turned up to the Head's propaganda evening.

The strikes have already led to the deferral of redundancies - though some only until Easter.

If other trade unions would join the strike, along with parents and pupils adding their voices, the plans to run Rawmarsh school into the ground could be defeated and the nascent Rotherham anti-cuts movement could claim an early victory!

The next day of strike action is Wednesday 19 January, with the possibility of three days of strikes the week after.

Please send messages of support to ralphdyson@yahoo.co.uk and

donations to NUT Doncaster office, 7, Chequer Road, Doncaster DN1 2AA.

You can receive updates on the dispute by following the Twitter feed (@RotherhamNUT) or on the Rotherham NUT Facebook page

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