Monday 10 February 2014

Greens back STEM 6 free school strike

Pic: Jenny Leow

 Statement from Islington Green Party

Teachers are on strike this week at the STEM 6 Academy, a newly opened free school on City Road, for students aged 16 -18 wanting to specialise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Teachers were individually coerced into signing harsh contracts before Christmas and now wish to obtain union recognition in order to re-negotiate these contracts. The contracts allow teachers to be laid off without notice - effectively a zero hours system - pay increases at management discretion only, and many more oppressive conditions.

Islington Green Party has no hesitation in supporting these teachers. The privatisation of our schooling system is having disastrous results in both losing local democratic involvement and harming the rights of those who work in these private schools. Even academic results are not expected to be an improvement on community-state run schools as demonstrated from a similar politically-driven experiment in Sweden.

Zero hours contracts are a pernicious ploy to help employers avoid paying a reliable living wage, and leave employees uncertain how much they will earn even from week to week. Such contracts are unattractive in any sector but seem particularly inappropriate for education where outcomes for the students depend on committed and confident teachers.

Teachers are professionals and deserve to be treated as such. This would not only benefit the teachers themselves but also the students, their future employers, and the wider community.

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