Defend Victimised Teachers

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 09/07/2007 - 12:41.

Some 35 NUT members at Haggerston School, East London, face the prospect of disciplinary action (up to dismisssal for gross misconduct) for respecting a picket line mounted by striking members of the T&G/Unite who work for the multinational privateer, Sodexho, in the school's PFI-built canteen. The strikers, most of them black women, are effectively paid well below the minimum wage by Sodexho.

The strike took place on 28 June and the disciplinary investigations against the NUT members and two technical staff whom I believe are in UNISON started last week, albeit in farcical circumstances.

The local NUT association is giving its backing to the teachers, but the union nationally has not intervened as yet other than to send letters and faxes telling its members to work normally during the canteen workers' strike.

For those with the time and energy to write in protest, you may wish to email the head teacher. Please send a copy of your email to NUT at Haggerston School.

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Submitted by Janine on Mon, 09/07/2007 - 13:04.

I am writing with great concern having heard about disciplinary action against Haggerston School teachers for respecting school meals' staff's picket lines.

I believe that these teachers deserve praise, rather than discipline, for their actions. The school meals workers, most of whom are black women, are super-exploited by their ruthless employer, Sodexho, and are paid significantly less than workers doing the same job in other Hackney schools. It is Sodexho's meanness which forced the school meals workers to act, and faced with a picket line, teachers had to decide whether they supported the rip-off employer or their workmates. They chose to support their workmates.

If Haggerston School wishes to take action against anyone, it should be against Sodexho, who are treating with contempt people who should be valued members of your school's staff. By treating school meals workers so badly, Sodexho is also showing contempt for the right of school students to decent nutrition and non-academic services. If you want to sack anyone, sack Sodexho. Give the contract to a company which will pay its staff a decent, living wage - or better still, lobby the Council to bring school meals services back in-house.


Janine Booth


Hackney Trades Union Council

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