From Psychology to Hair & Beauty the response from
ATL & UCU lecturers to the strike call was overwhelming in all departments
at Worcester Technology College
From Psychology to Hair & Beauty the response from UCU and ATL lecturers to the strike call was overwhelming in all departments at Worcester Technology College. As Beth Buxton, Lecture in Psychology and UCU member, explained, “The threat to pensions is the straw that broke the camel’s back. 280 lecturers have been living under the threat of redundancy for months with the Principal trying to impose a 6% cut in pay and a change terms and conditions which will double the size of classes”. So the picket lines were in operation from 7am and Beth confirms no one went through the strikers.
The University Lecturers also had an early start to the picketing as well great success and across the county over 100 schools closed. In Kidderminster PCS strikers were picketing to ensure the courts were closed whilst pickets at DEFRA in Worcester closed this government department.
After this early start, over 250 strikers went when to a rally in a local Baptist church to hear a number of speakers. Speakers included Stephen Baker, Secretary of Worcester ATL, who told the meeting that the additional pension payment was not a contribution but a tax to pay for the banking crisis. He also wanted to remind Grove of what he had said in 2010 at the ATL Conference when he said that they “would not alter the terms on which you entered the profession”, but this was a promise he is not prepared to keep. Bryn Griffiths, UCU Secretary at Worcester Technology College, stated that he had never seen anything like this before. Bryn explained that we have a group of politicians in power who want to attack the education of working class kids. Bryn also recounted an event on the picket line that morning. A lecturer had turned up for work and told the pickets she was not a union member but took a leaflet and walked in. Five minutes later she came out and told the pickets she had read the leaflet and was so enraged that she thought she should be on strike as well so Bryn immediately recruited her to the union.
The biggest applause at the rally went to Max Hyde, NUT National Executive Member, who spoke about the strike breaking role of the two Eds, Balls and Miliband. It is not what is expected of a Labour leadership when workers are defending their pensions. Max also stated that when we return to school on Friday no recriminations nor animosity should be shown to any NASUWT members, as she explained that on the picket line that morning most NASUWT members were embarrassed and ashamed that they had not been called out on strike. But the rally when on to confirm that we will all work together to encourage all union members in the public sector, regardless of their union, that it essential the next strike is fully backed and the response will be in the millions.
After a hard day of picketing Beth went back home to do some gardening in the sun but she said come September when we strike again it will be bigger and have more impact than today.