by James Ivens, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
The strike at South Chingford secondary in Waltham Forest was fighting fit on its second day on 15 March. Workers at the east London academy are challenging high workload and job cuts — targeted particularly at the PE department.
The strike is solid, with good attendance on the picket line. South Chingford’s head has passed up all opportunities to talk. She prefers to issue statements claiming staff have unfulfilled commitments that need completion first.
Pickets explained these are “lies” and the work is already done. The head also called police in to address the heinous crime of pickets leafleting at the school gate. The Met’s visit resulted in nothing more than a little wasted time.
Staff at nearby Chingford school, part of the same academy trust, are also on the verge of strike action. Walking out together would be an important step forward, strengthening both disputes.
With more and more school-by-school struggles breaking out, it’s plain a clear call to action by the leadership of the National Education Union would get a warm response. The NEU should start building towards a national strike, and coordinate with the many disputes erupting in other sectors.