#Teachers’ #strike – Wednesday 26 March

March 25, 2014
  • from North London People’s Assemble Against Austerity and Islington NUT

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has called a national strike for Wednesday. The strike is about pensions and conditions, but equally about broader education issues that are not part of a trade dispute but of concern to teachers and the union.

The NUT is striking against:

As well as visiting your local picket line to express your solidarity, there is an opportunity to support and solidarity at rallies and marches taking place across the country. (Click here for a complete list: http://www.teachers.org.uk/strikerally.)

In London, we will be joining the march with our banner and helping distribute PAAA leaflets for the June national demo. RSVP to this address and matthewwillgress@hotmail.co.uk if you can help

The march is gathering at 11.30am at Duchess Street, London, W1A 1AA (at the back of Broadcasting House, nearest tube Oxford Circus.) People will then be marching past Broadcasting House via Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Downing Street, arriving at 1.00pm at Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London, SW1H 9NH.

Islington picket lines

From 8am

  • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School for Girls, Donegal Street, N1 9QG,
  • Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls, Holland Walk, Duncombe Road, Archway, London N19 3EU,
  • Islington Sixth Form College, The Angel, 283-309 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DD.

Visitors bringing solidarity are very welcome!


#Teachers #strike will hit #Islington #schools

March 19, 2014
  • From Islington National Union of Teachers

Schools in Islington will be closed next week as members of the large st teacher union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), take national strike action – the strike on Wednesday March 26th is expected to close the vast majority of schools in Islington.

The strike is part of the campaign to protect pay, pensions and to ensure a workload that means children receive the best possible teaching. The strike follows a series of regional strikes in the autumn, which were very well supported and saw teachers getting a lot of support from parents.

Members of the NUT are concerned that government changes will have a damaging effect on education, these include:

  • teachers working until they are 68 or beyond,
  • increasing pension contributions by 50% and reducing the pension package,
  • introducing performance related pay.

Recent figures published by the government show that teachers in primary schools are working 60 hours a week – the NUT believes that this is too much and is one of the reasons why so many young teachers are leaving the profession.

In addition to this strike action the NUT has launched a major campaign, Stand Up for Education, through which teachers are fighting to ensure that:

  • every classroom in every school has a qualified teacher
  • local authorities can open new schools where needed
  • changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and well planned
  • new teachers are encouraged into the profession
  • schools work together and are properly and equitably funded

The Stand Up for Education campaign has been getting huge support from parents and politicians all over the country who share the NUT’s concerns about government education policy.

Islington NUT Assistant Secretary, Ken Muller, said, “Teacher workload is unsustainable and the thought of doing the job until 68 is driving many away from the job. Teacher morale is at dangerously low levels. Children need teachers who are fresh and well motivated not tired and demoralised.

“All the polls show that Michael Gove is out of touch with teachers and parents – he must listen and change direction. This strike is his fault – teachers do not like taking strike action but they are prepared to lose pay to stand up for education. We do apologise for the inconvenience to parents but we hope they will support us.”

New #Whittington boss puts #Islington’s hospital back under threat

March 13, 2014

Islington people will have to start a new fight against proposed cuts to the Whittington Hospital.

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition is making the call after hearing the plans of the new chair of the hospital board at a public meeting.

Last July, the Coalition, with support from IHOOPS, won a victory after hospital bosses reversed decisions to cut staff and sell off building.

Islington Hands Off Our Public Services marches for the Whittington

Islington Hands Off Our Public Services marches for the Whittington

But at a meeting on 3 March, at St Mary Brookfield church, Dartmouth Park Hill, the chair Steve Hitchens said that the hospital could not remain as a district hospital.

Chair of the Coalition, Shirley Franklyn commented: “So, are you up for a fight back? We hope so, because otherwise our hospital services will be further decimated and privatised.

“In the end, after a lot of prevarication, Steve Hitchins, surprised us by turning up to tell us about his plans. He does not think it is viable for our hospital to remain as a district hospital.

“It appears that all he wants to create is a glorified health centre, with integrated care and skyping patients spread across the boroughs.

“He plans to cut staff, while wasting millions of our money that should have gone into the hospital but that was paid to private consultants whose work they have ignored. But, other services are also being privatised at the hospital – e.g. catering and IT.

“Hitchins also said that he thought if the Hospital lost the Foundation Trust status that it would also lose a lot of services. We do not believe this to be the case. Whoever runs the Trust will have us on their back to ensure that we have a fully-fledged district hospital.

“He has torn up all the plans that have gone before. So having spent millions, including around £350,000 to Ernst and Young and £1-2 million to Unipart, as well as all the work done by hospital medical directors and their teams, they are back to the drawing board.”

The Coalition is asking people to tell them what they think. People can email them or put comments on their – http://www.dwhc.org.uk and/or Facebook

The meeting also heard from Lewisham, Chase Farm and Whipps Cross campaigns.

Shirley continued: “All these campaigns have hospital staff and consultants on them. It would be great if we could have more insiders coming to our planning meetings.

“A big thanks to everyone who turned up to the meeting and to our wonderful speakers.”

The next planning meeting is Monday 7 April at 7.00 in the ground floor room at the Archway Methodist Church Hall, in Archway Close. The room is wheelchair accessible.

Banner Theatre’s Anti-Austerity Show in #Islington

March 5, 2014
  • At 7pm to 9.15pm, on Friday, 14 March

POSTER IHOOPS, bannertheatre, 14-03-14

Grab a night of anti-cuts entertainment and donate to the struggle:

at Platform, Hornsey Road Baths, 260 Hornsey Road, London N7 7QT.

Order tickets online at: http://www.platformislington.org.uk/banner-theatre
or pay on the door

Bar open until 10pm.

Rally and Demo marking UN #Anti-Racism Day

March 1, 2014

The rally and demo called for 22nd March by UAF and the TUC, supported by many unions, community organisations, migrant and muslim organisations will be the biggest anti-racist event for many years.

See below for UAF statement. For further information go to: www.standuptoracism.org.uk

Islington UAF is organising for this event and we hope that you will join us on the day and help us build support for the event. On the day there will be a parade celebrating diversity, multiculturalism and the contribution of immigrants to our communities. It will be child-friendly and, we hope, noisy and colourful.
Before the event Islington UAF will be doing a number of things:

Friday 7th. March: leafleting at Finsbury Park.

  • 12.45 Meet Finsbury Park mosque (St Thomas Street)
  • 5.00 Meet Finsbury Park Tube (Bus station exit  at Seven Sisters side)

We also hope to organise leafleting at other local tube stations. Any volunteers?
Saturday 15th. March: demo and leafleting Chapel Market

  • 12 noon Meet Angel Tube

There are also events in Hackney:

  • Cavalcade to build M22 assembling at 11.00am on Saturday 1st March 2014. Starts from Car Park at Topps Tiles, 92 Stamford Hill, London N16 6XS (opposite the Morrison’s)
  • Public Meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at the Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, E5 0PU with Diane Abbott MP, Weyman Bennett (Unite Against Fascism) and Billy Hayes (general secretary Communication Workers Union)

Please join us and help to make March 22nd. a big step forward in the fight against Racism and Fascism.
If you would like leaflets please contact us.
Richard Kirkwood
Co-Chair Islington UAF

Rally and Demo marking UN Anti-Racism Day
11am, Saturday 22nd March 2014
Parade from the Mandela Statue in Parliament to rally at Trafalgar Square

A day of action against racism has been called for across Europe to coincide with the marking of UN Anti-Racism Day in 2014, with eyes on the European elections in May.

Already in most European countries parties of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing the terrain of these elections to be dominated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities – Muslims, immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities.

Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.

In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber. The mainstream political parties look set to capitulate to UKIP in their calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.

The ‘go-home’ vans sent out by the Home Office over the summer are a sign of things to come. Hostility is already being stirred up towards Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers who will be able to work here from January.

Such campaigns simply whip up racism in general and induce a ‘blame game’ for falling living standards and squeezed incomes that falls on visible minorities in stepped up discrimination, institutional racism, abuse and violence.

This all encourages currents like the English Defence League, which turn their Islamophobic prejudices into real attempts to terrorise the Muslim population – attacking Mosques, assaulting veiled women, insulting religious sensitivities with vile slogans and throwing pigs’ heads, and organising intimidating marches into Muslim communities.

Following the rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, (also known as Killah P), the Greek anti-fascist and anti-racist movement has proposed that next year’s UN Day Against Race Discrimination on March 21/22 should be the focus for actions against racism and fascism across Europe.

While there is a real threat that openly racist parties may win the 2014 Euro-elections in some countries, this can be prevented by the widest possible unity against them and the mobilisation of the broadest progressive forces.

Unite Against Fascism has therefore initiated this call for a demonstration and rally to Stand Up to Racism in London on Saturday 22nd March. We endorse this proposal and call on all those of goodwill to join us in a riposte to the rise of racism, to show that migrants are welcome and demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating and hatred.

#Islington #teachers at #Angel to call for a halt to Gove’s attack on #schools

March 1, 2014
  • Stand up for Education: stop Gove attacking teachers and schools
  • Information from Islington NUT

 Next Saturday (8 March) Islington teachers will be leafleting and petitioning local shoppers from 11.30 am outside Sainsbury’s at the Angel in support of our campaign to stop the constant attacks being made by Education Secretary Michael Gove on schools and the teachers and support staff who work in them.

We plan to distribute gas-filled balloons with the Stand Up for Education logo on them to passing children (with parents’ permission, of course.)

Ken Muller, Assistant Secretary of Islington branch of the National Union of Teachers, said: “We want Islington residents – and especially parents – to know why we feel that we have no choice but to join national strike action called by the NUT on 26 March to defend our right to a tolerable workload, to retire at a reasonable age and to receive a salary which keeps up with the cost of living.”

The Coalition Government’s policies threaten the standard of education in all our schools and colleges. We are asking parents to help us to persuade Michael Gove to change course.

Local parent governor, Andrew Berry,  commented: “I fully support the NUT Stand Up for Education campaign. The constant attacks by Gove and the government on teachers and other school staff in education is damaging not just to them but also to schools themselves and to children’s and young people’s education.”

Teachers in Islington and across the country are calling on Michael Gove to:

  1. Ensure every classroom has a qualified teacher
    Academies and free schools are now allowed to employ unqualified teachers. This is a big threat to standards of education.
  2. Allow councils to open new schools where they are needed
    There is a huge pupil place shortage but councils are not allowed to open new schools. Many councils are driven to putting portacabins on school playgrounds to cope. The Government only allows new “free” schools and these are often in the wrong place.
  3. Make sure changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and planned
    Rushed changes are stressful for children as well as their teachers. The Government should start listening to what teachers and education experts say. It should work with them to develop an exciting and inspiring curriculum that equips children for the modern world.
  4. Ensure there are enough new teachers – stop picking fights with the ones we’ve got
    Michael Gove keeps criticising teachers. Morale is plummeting. Five years after qualifying, 2 in every 5 teachers are no longer teaching. On top of that the current system of training teachers is under-recruiting. Instead of dealing with this, Michael Gove keeps attacking our teachers, who are forced to strike to defend themselves and education.
  5. Get our schools working together and fund them properly
    The evidence shows that schools working together are best for all children. Financial scandals at free schools show the dangers of privatisation. On top of this fragmentation, school 6th forms and 6th form colleges are facing 20% cuts while £1.7 billion has been allocated to wasteful and unnecessary schools.

We know that the majority of parents share our concerns and we welcome any support they are prepared to give us, including writing to Michael Gove calling on him to enter in to serious talks with the teachers trade unions in order to avoid us having to strike and even joining us next Saturday morning at the Angel.

For further information, call Ken Muller on 079507508