From Permanent Revolution:
Support Grows For Bolton Strike!
Nearly sixty people came to the rally, outside a governors’ meeting, against the Academy at Withins School, Bolton with strikers, parents, students and delegations from other schools and workplaces.
The mood was defiant and loud leaving governors in no doubt about the strength of feeling. Some governors came to the picket to discuss the issue and at least a couple of governors said they supported us. The main sponsors of the Academy were not brave enough to turn up though they sent a delegate and the good news is that the combination of the strike against a change of employer, the deluge of messages of support, the strong community campaign and media profile have already resulted in an announcement that the Academy proposal has been put back by two terms.
“This shows our strength,” said Phil Roberts, the NUT rep, “but we’re not letting up at all until we have secured a complete victory. If anything support for the campaign and the strike is growing!
We’ve had messages of support from Devonshire to Newcastle and school reps on the phone from other places threatened with Academy status to see if they can try a similar strike against change of employer. The support is really appreciated- please keep it coming in and sending in the petitions. It’s like the whole country’s looking to us to win and supporting us!”
Protestors, who included members of Unison and NASUWT, as well as a good delegation of students and parents shouted, “Our School’s Not For Sale!” and discussed ways forward. The NUT group meets tomorrow to plan the next day of strike action and Unison members are also meeting to decide whether to join the strike or not.
At one point it looked like the police were sending reinforcements to perhaps move us on but the mood was resolute with chants of “Power to the poeple!” and “United front! Shoulder to shoulder!”
The rally was a great success and shows some of the support. “All the students support this campaign,” said one, “and want to stay as Withins not some private Academy! Some of us have even been threatened with disciplinary measures for supporting the strike and joining the strike picket but it would really kick off if they tried anything!”
“We definitely think we can win,” added a striker, “this school is our school and we’re going to fight. We’ve been campaigning for over a year and saw off another bidder but this strike has really escalated it. it’s really important people keep supporting us and perhaps other NUT groups could have similar actions. It’s about time we took a stand!”
The rally ended with some speeches and determination to carry on the strike until all threats have been seen off.
This is obviously a very important strike and shows the way forward for organising in schools, taking action over class size, workload, any other issues and bombarding union leaders with the demand for a national ballot for discontinuous (ongoing preferably escalating) strike action over all these issues and pay.
Support for struggles like the Bolton strike should be used to begin to organise a network of activists to ensure rank and file control of struggles and the need for ordinary members to get organised to pressure our leaders to take the action we need and get organised at the rank and file level to take action ourselves where we can. Victory to the Bolton strike! For national ballot as soon as possible!
E-mail messages of support to Bolton NUT conwaycoltman @yahoo.com
Download petition here
Get school, college groups and local divisions to pass motions demanding an immediate ballot, perhaps using Bolton NUT motion as a basis