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31 July 2014

Workplace news in brief

Hands off Hove Park

On 16 July NUT members at Hove Park school took well-supported strike action against plans to change to academy status.

This strike was just one of the three major successes for the Hands off Hove Park campaign on that day as the results of a parental ballot were confirmed as 71% against conversion and, in the evening, the results of an election of three governors was announced with all places going to anti-academy parents.

Despite the clear and overwhelming opposition of parents, staff and pupils it is still possible the school will convert as the law does not require governors to actually listen to these vital stakeholders.

A local Tory councillor who supports conversion made the mistake of suggesting to those on the picket line that the 71% No, on a 40% turnout, was not a majority of parents. He and the press were quickly presented with figures that showed he was elected by only 6.8% of potential voters in his ward!

Further strikes are likely in the run up to the decision meeting on 22 September as well as a final push from the parental campaign. So far no schools have voluntarily converted in Brighton since this government got in. All involved in the campaign recognise this is a fight not just for Hove Park but for the future of all schools in the city.

Phil Clarke, Brighton Socialist Party and NUT National Executive member

Bexley pay cut

Unite has condemned proposals by Bexley council in south London to cut the pay of apprentices. The council's review of its apprentice arrangements will lead to level 2 apprentices receiving an increase taking pay up from 100 a week to 115 a week. However, at the same time, level 3 apprentice pay will be cut from 230 a week to 201 a week.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab commented: "Bexley council has given new meaning to taking with one hand and giving with the other. It's an appalling proposal that cuts a low rate of pay even lower. The government talks about recovery - it obviously does not apply in Bexley. If you want to get on and get a job, Bexley is now telling you to expect even lower pay"

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