School students support Nov 30th action!


The one-day public sector strike on Nov 30th is not only getting support from the workers themselves but also from other sections of society. Here we publish a letter from a school student showing how they too are behind the strikers and their fight against the Tory attacks:

The momentous strike of public sector workers on the 30th of November should be actively supported by all school students and is a vital opportunity to link the struggles together.
Under the government’s proposals, teachers will pay, on average, 50% more into their pension fund; will work longer- for some ‘til 68- and will receive less in their pension. This means that “[a] teacher retiring at age 60 under the new arrangements would receive a pension of £13,800 – a loss of £5,300 per year compared with the £19,100 pension under the current scheme”.
And yet, over the last two years- during a world economic crisis- the number of British billionaires has increased by 17%, and in 2010, bonuses in the City of London reached £14bn, an increase on the £12bn paid out in 2008. The rich continue to weasel out of contributing to the welfare state, leaving us with a hefty tax gap- estimates of its size vary from 42-£120bn- while the government lands the burden of austerity on public services rather than the incomes of the super-wealthy. You don’t have to be a statistician to see the injustice.
This strike is not a struggle of public sector workers alone, but a struggle to be supported by all those- unemployed youth, students facing up to £53,000 of debt, disabled people losing their benefits- who have nothing to gain from this government. Young people have seen EMA, Connexions centres and youth services scrapped. Over a million young people are now on the dole, with some being made to work for their benefits for months at a time, no job guaranteed. For many, the present is desperate, and for most, the future is uncertain.
Young people shouldn’t take it. And the upcoming strike is a key moment when we can intervene to ramp up the anti-cuts struggle.
There are many ways to show your support- collect students’ signatures for a petition; write letters to the local paper, MP or school Head; but most importantly, get to the picket lines and the demonstrations. In the run up to November 30th, student activists should give out flyers, put up posters, and use mobile phones, facebook and twitter to promote local actions.
Visibility of students on demos and pickets is also a great way to smash the divisive tactics of the government and the right-wing Press, which will argue that a strike by teachers is an attack on parents and school students. The education professionals’ union ‘Voice’, for example, forbids its members from striking because it believes that “all those involved in education and childcare should make the best interests of children and students their first and overwhelming priority.” We must show that the biggest strike since 1979 is in the best interests of young people, and that mass unemployment and austerity is the real attack.
November 30th will be a chance to build solidarity and discuss with teachers and fellow students how we can move forward beyond the strike. Make sure to remember which students come out in support, and collect their details so that you can stay in touch and organise with them. Work on building a network of school students committed to fighting for free education and a better future for young people in your area. This is the first step towards a National School Students’ Union with branches across the country, which we should view as a long term goal. Most of all, however boring the march (TUC demos sometimes feel like a pleasant stroll) and however biting the cold, get onto the streets with the festival-spirit of collective strength that we’re going to need in the ups and downs of the months and years ahead.


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