Teachers at Langdon School in Newham, East London are involved in a bitter industrial dispute over management bullying and the sacking of 6 members of the senior management team. Around 70 teachers are on strike 3 days a week until the end of term.
The local authority has responded to this strike by giving temporary contracts to around 40 scab teachers. In order to get round the law on agencies supplying strike breakers, the hired supplies have been given local authority contracts.
Teachers on the picket lines report that this aggressive strike-breaking operation has caused some embarassment for the school. Already one scab had to be escorted from the premises for smelling of alcohol during morning break. Another scab is reportedly being investigated for inappropriate conduct involving a year 11 girl. Parents are rallying behind the strike and putting pressure on local politicians to intervene.
School students have also shown their support for the strike. On 11 November over 200 students boycotted morning lessons. They protested against their mock exams being scheduled on strike days and the introduction of a one-year GCSE. The response of the headteacher to this act of solidarity was reminiscent of Stalin's show trials. She hauled the student organisers of the walk-out into her office and forced them to issue a public apology for their actions and to recant their views in the local press!
Striking teachers on the picket line were resolute about winning this dispute. Some of the teachers had been at the school for decades and are not going to be bullied out by this new headteacher. In the new year there is talk of all out, continuous action and also calling out the rest of the schools against the scab-herding local authority. Solidarity messages to firstname.lastname@example.org