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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2022

National Education Union strike at girls' school chain over pensions

NEU members picket Nothwood College for Girls, London. Photo: Steve Harbord

NEU members picket Nothwood College for Girls, London. Photo: Steve Harbord   (Click to enlarge)

1,500 members of the National Education Union (NEU) at 23 independent schools within the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) have taken strike action over plans to withdraw staff from the 'Teachers' Pension Scheme'. Socialist Party members joined them on picket lines.

Nottingham

Jean Thorpe, Nottingham Socialist Party member, spoke to Emma Furness, NEU shop steward at Nottingham Girls' High School.

"This is the first strike here in 149 years! The issue is pensions. The employer is threatening firing and rehiring us to get through a massive attack on our pensions. They are threatening to withdraw from the Teachers' Pension Scheme and replace it with one through Aviva that would leave the average teacher 20% worse off in retirement. There was a brilliant ballot turnout - an 84% turnout with a 95% yes vote. We have four picket lines today."

Northampton

Picketers lined the roads outside Northampton High School on 10 February as teachers stood together in solidarity against attacks on their pensions. There was a noticeable display of support from every HGV driver who passed the pickets.

Northampton High School is part of a chain of GDST independents. The company intends to slash pensions through removal of membership from the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) and threatened fire-and-rehire tactics if this move was resisted. All before any consultation with the staff.

One teacher said: "A contract used to be binding, forever, now they just tear them up."

One of the NEU organisers told us this is the first strike for this school which had an even bigger turnout. The majority on the picket lines were women. When I asked one teacher what her pupils thought of the strikes she said: "I consider it part of my role to teach the girls to stand up for themselves, what kind of example would I be setting if I didn't fight?"

Five further days of action are planned for the 23-24 February and the 1, 2 and 3 March.

Katie Simpson, Northampton Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 16 February 2022:


What we think

Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery


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Covid: Fight for full sick pay

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'Stand together and fight'

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Australian nurses strike against understaffing and low pay


Erdington by-election

Birmingham Erdington by-election

Campaigning in Birmingham Erdington by-election


Saltley Gate

From our history: 1972 miners' strike


PCS elections

PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership


Workplace news

Barts NHS strike

NEU strike at girls' school chain over pensions

University workers striking back

"If we don't fight, we won't win!"

Just Eat strike spreads and forces concessions

Join the scaffs mass picket at Scunthorpe steelworks

Worksop Wincanton workers win pay rise after strike


Campaigns

West Sussex care campaigners' victory

Why I'm going to Socialist Students conference

Campaigning to make 2 March student walkout happen

Stop eviction of Camden homeless collective

East Sussex: Poverty and cuts bring people to Socialist Party

Save St Mary's Leisure Centre

Fund us to fight for socialism


Readers' opinion

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How Cardiff Bay's redevelopment led to 'social cleansing'


 

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Related links:

National Education Union:

triangle"If we don't fight, we won't win!"

triangleNewham Sixth Form College begins strike against academisation

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

triangleEducation unions lead campaign against Leicester academisation

triangleStrategy needed to bring members together to take national action

Strike:

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

triangleRail workers strike in Sheffield

triangleJust Eat couriers continue action to fight pay cut

triangleBarts NHS workers to walk out again on 28 February

Union:

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleTrade union support for standing anti-cuts election candidates

triangleUsdaw: 'Reinstate Max' week of action

School:

triangleSchool students strike in Austria

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

Pensions:

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

Education:

triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

Northampton:

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