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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 October 2018

Students and workers march for increased college funding

Students demanding an end to Tory cuts and austerity in education. London, 17.10.18, photo Isai Priya

Students demanding an end to Tory cuts and austerity in education. London, 17.10.18, photo Isai Priya   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Students

Over 1,000 teachers, lecturers and college students marched through central London on 17 October to demand the end to Tory cuts and austerity in education.

Organised by the University and College Union (UCU) and public sector union Unison, people mobilised from around the country to march and to lobby MPs in Parliament to demand the end of the harsh funding squeeze which has gripped further education (FE) colleges for years.

"Where's our pay!"

Marching from Waterloo Place to Parliament Square, the streets were filled with chants of "Theresa May, where's our pay!" and "The money's there, we want our share!"

The youthful turnout of FE students lifted the mood of the marchers. Leaflets calling for the building of a united student and workers' movement to kick out the Tory government, as the only solution to the funding crisis, quickly disappeared from the hands of Socialist Students members.

Nearly a decade of Tory austerity and woefully inadequate funding for FE has meant job cuts, pay cuts, and the spiralling of workloads for teachers. Schools face identical problems.

The National Audit Office said in 2016 that by 2019-2020 schools will have to make funding cuts amounting to 3 billion, meaning increased class sizes, cuts to educational resources for children and more work, less pay, and worse conditions for staff.

At the same time, the rich have continued to rake in super profits while the lives of staff and the futures of children are thrown down the drain - the top CEOs in Britain in 2017 received an 11% pay rise!

Tory fears

This march will only add to the Tories' fears that a new movement for education is spreading. Earlier this month, 1,000 headteachers marched through central London, effectively taking strike action, to demand an 8% increase in schools funding.

Socialist Students stands shoulder to shoulder with lecturers, teachers, support staff and students in all our schools, colleges and universities fighting for their futures. Students and workers, let's unite and strike together to kick out the Tories!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 24 October 2018:


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