To London School Students: The teachers’ strike is your strike!

Students, teachers and ALL striking workers must strike to WIN!

Our power is on the streets!

Build the movement to bring down this dangerous, racist, anti-working class government

All out on Wednesday 1 February

Meeting @11am, Portland Place, W1A 1AA (near Oxford Circus station) marching to Westminster

London, April 2019 – Youth Strike for Climate


School teachers in the National Educational Union (NEU) have voted for strike action by a 90.44% majority and they will start with a strike across England & Wales on 1 February (teachers in Scotland are already striking). The NEU has organised a march in London that day and it is calling on parents & ‘children’ (i.e. school students) to join the demonstration and even invited them to bring their school bands. They will be joined by train drivers & other railway workers, civil servants, some London bus drivers and other groups who are striking on the same day. 

Now is the time for ALL STUDENTS in schools and colleges to come out and move the workers’ struggle forward. It’s time to take militant action and fight to win By Any Means Necessary!

This strike is about saving the education system from the terrible damage the government has caused and the further damage it is planning. We can make it a strike to fight and win QUALITY, PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR ALL, to defend public services across the country, and to bring down this dangerous, racist, anti-working class government.

All the strikes that are happening now are fighting back against the government’s attacks on poor, working class, struggling middle class and immigrant communities, and on young people. We must strike and march together for respect, safe working conditions, fair pay, and a better future. WE MUST STRIKE TO WIN! And this government must go NOW!

The power of youth fighting for a future of hope and equality

Students acting with what Martin Luther King called “The fierce urgency of Now” are a powerful force that can defeat oppressive policies, like racist policing in school. Last year, students at the Peachey Academy in Hackney took over the school and ended the cover-up of the police strip-search, in the school, of a 15-year old black schoolgirl, ‘Child Q’ (which was really a racist sexual assault). And their action led to the headteacher’s removal. Students walked out of City & Islington College and demonstrated against the random stop & search of students – and they forced the managers to end that policy.

The power, ambitions, honesty and energy of a mass integrated youth movement is what scares politicians the most. They are especially afraid of black, Asian, Muslim & immigrant students, because of their own racist policies. That’s the reason for the racist, sexist police in so many London schools.

The power of school & college students on the streets can bring the struggle of workers closer to victory!

We must revive the youthful, energetic struggle of the ‘Fridays for our Future,’ and unite that struggle against the climate crisis with the fight of the teachers, health workers, bus drivers, refuse and street cleansing workers, etc. Students joining the workers’ struggle will inspire everyone involved in the present strikes.

Fight for your rights and respect in schools & colleges

Students have plenty of changes to fight for as part of this strike movement:

  • Police out of schools & colleges – the racist, sexist & corrupt police force has no role in education;
  • Restore free public transport for school & college students;
  • Abolish the loans system that means that if you go to university you leave with a burden of debt that can take decades to pay back;
  • End the hated & pointless SATS system that distorts education for school students;
  • Stop the government’s attempt to impose its backward, racist view of British history onto schools;
  • Demand that your school or college refuses to inform the racist Home Office about the immigration status of students or their families.

We can & must bring down this desperate, divided and dangerous government

We must not make the mistake of over-estimating the strength of the present government. It can’t agree whether to keep their rich friends happy by cutting taxes and shutting down even more public services, or keep taxes high to pay off the government’s debts. Rishi Sunak’s position is not secure.

This is a Brexit government. Brexit was a project of rich people to whip up racism and end the right to free movement, by blaming immigrants for all the poverty in society. The government’s aim was to take away the rights of all working class people and attack their standard of living. It has been a disaster for most people, and however racist the government gets it remains deeply unpopular. The majority of white people are just not as racist as this government wants them to be.

Weak as it is, this government isn’t ready to compromise. It is getting desperate, so it is bringing in a new anti-strike law (the Strikes Bill). This law says that if any workers in education, health, public transport and the fire & rescue services go on strike, the government can order them to work and sack them if they don’t obey. It is trying to make it impossible for public service workers to fight for their rights. It’s the kind of law that a dictator would bring in and it must be stopped.

The trade unions have announced that Wednesday 1st February will be a National Day of Action to stop this law. Your teachers are taking the lead. Their demonstration that day will be the start of the fight to defeat the  Strikes Bill.

MFJ believes that school and college students, together with striking workers, communities fighting racism & stopping immigration raids and refugees crossing the channel, are the active vanguard that can defeat the most dangerous government in modern British history. That will only be possible with your power on the streets.

What you can do

  • Share this flyer and talk with your friends and other students.
  • Form a group in your school or your year group to prepare for the teachers’ strike and demonstration.
  • Get people together to prepare placards or banners.
  • Set a meeting point and arrange travel to the march.
  • Contact Movement Justice to let us know how preparations are going, set up meeting points, discuss the strike & march, or ask for advice.

Movement for Justice BY ANY MEAN NECESSARY



Strike to stop the Tory Strikes Bill!

All Out on 1st February Day of Action

Unite & extend the strikes – No one settles until everyone settles  

Indefinite nationwide strike action in key services         

Build elected workplace & inter-union action committees                                       

Unite the strikes with community action – Build Strike to Win Committees

“The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle…. If there is no struggle, there is no progress…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.”                 (Frederick Douglass, 1857)

18 January 2023

No-one should under-estimate the threat of this government or the destruction it has already inflicted on our lives, our rights, our public services – and on democracy. It is a fundamentally weak government because the racist Brexit project – which is the one and only reason for its existence – has been an economic disaster for working class and struggling middle class people. The Movement for Justice (MFJ) believes that the main reason for the government’s survival is that its opponents have been unwilling to acknowledge the reality of its dictatorial, proto-fascist character – and because the Labour Party under Starmer has become its pale shadow (e.g. the Tories rip up the NHS and try to crush hospital staff with even more work – so Labour leaders, who refuse to support the  strikes, attack doctors as running hospitals for their own convenience and say NHS staff must accept ‘reform’).  

The Tories’ new Strikes Bill [the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill] should be an over-due wake-up call.

The growing wave of strikes by over-worked, under-paid public service workers is the most significant fight against this government and its policies. The strikes are popular with the victims of those policies – the millions of working class, poor, oppressed and immigrant people. The most outspoken union leader, Mick Lynch of the RMT, is more popular than any politician. The government is seriously alarmed; the new bill is an attempt to destroy workers’ ability to take effective strike action in the public services.

The government changes the law in order to attack public service workers

The Strikes Bill comes after 40-plus years of legislation that has trapped trade unions in a monstrous set of undemocratic procedures and restrictions – the most oppressive anti-union laws in Europe. This Bill takes that to a new, more dangerous level.

It must be one of the shortest and least detailed bills ever put before Parliament because it is basically a form of  ‘Enabling Law’ – the kind of law that gives would-be dictators very broad, open-ended and undefined powers to pretty much what they like.

This Bill applies to health services, fire and rescue services, education services, transport services, decommissioning nuclear installations and radioactive waste, and border security. The first four obviously cover vastly more workers – but exactly how widely those categories they apply is deliberately left vague.

For example, could ‘transport’ apply to a strike in the company that prints Oyster Cards, or in an aircraft factory? The government could potentially do that if it wanted to.

The Bill would….

  • Allow the government to set whatever ‘minimum level of service’ it likes on public service workers who are taking strike action. Any workers who breach that minimum level can be sacked. In past and present strikes by health workers, the unions have set a ‘minimum level’ to deal with acute emergencies and protect the most at-risk patients. The purpose of this law is to allow the government to set ‘minimum’ levels that are so high and so general that strikes in public services would become impossible or totally ineffective.
  • Allow an employer – such as a railway company or the NHS – to sue a trade union for any loss they suffer because workers didn’t co-operate with the new law. You can imagine the government organising Tory students to sue their universities if there was no teaching, and then the universities could get the money back by suing the teachers’ union.

This is charter for victimisation on a mass scale. It is effectively forcing public service workers to scab on their own strikes. It would be worse than the situation that impelled the trade unions to set up the Labour Party 123 years ago, after a rail company successfully sued a union for the money it lost because of a strike.

Break the Stalemate!

This is a battle for survival between public service workers and the most anti-democratic government in modern British history. If parliament passes this law, and if the government is able to enforce it, it will lead to mass victimisation of union activists, massive job loss, cuts and closures, and even more privatisation, deregulation and profiteering. The public services will end up in the same situation as the care homes – carved up into financial assets for private wealth funds, hedge funds and the rest of the parasitic tax-dodging millionaires and billionaires.

But the government and the billionaires have not won yet. The strikes remain strong and they are growing. Public service workers are in no mood to submit. We are more united than the Tories. We can win. One way or another, the outcome will be decided in action – and that will decide the fate of the Strikes Bill.

The present situation is a stalemate between the government and the public  service workers. The Strikes Bill is the government’s plan for breaking that stalemate. The striking workers need their own plan to break the stalemate and win.

For just over a year the public service unions have followed a policy that has been called ‘Lots of small fires everywhere.’ Different unions and different groups of workers in the same unions striking separately on different days and for different periods. The trade union leaders and full-time official devised this plan as a way to manoeuvre round the minefield of anti-union laws, but it has proved inadequate to win more than partial and temporary compromises in local disputes. It is time to throw away the small arms and bring in the artillery.

Unite the strikes – ensuring that strikes are co-ordinated so that there are much large numbers of workers on strike at the same time. Really big conflagrations will have a far more powerful impact than a lot of small fires.

Indefinite strike action – there has already been talk about this in some quarters but it needs to happen now. If several large national trade unions combine to take indefinite, nationwide action – on the railways and post and in education, for  example – the balance of power in this class war would immediately swing in favour of the working class. (For the Border Force, which is paid stop or turn back refugees, we recommend an eternal strike!)

No one settles until everyone settles – United we win, divided we fall! The most successful action last year was the dockers’ strike at Felixstowe. They won an above inflation pay rise because most of Britain’s container traffic goes through Felixstowe, meaning that the dockers could strangle much of the economy and damage business profits. By settling that dispute the government reduced the pressure it was under to settle the other disputes. That’s why there needs to be an agreement between some, at least, of the public service unions that they won’t sign-off to an agreement with the employers until they have all secured satisfactory settlements.

“It’s better to break the law than break the poor”

That was a popular slogan during the fight against the Poll Tax at the end of the 1980s. A Tory government had brought in a profoundly unfair system of raising money to fund local services, which fell overwhelmingly on the poorest families. It was estimated that 11 million households refused to pay the tax, or even register for it. There were riots all over the country and collective mobilisations to stop people being evicted or arrested. This was all illegal action – and they won! The prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, had to resign, and the poll tax was scrapped.

The workers are striking to win, so we have to assess the scale of action needed in order to win. The level of action so far has led to a stalemate, a war of attrition, so workers must raise the level of their action – regardless of its legality under the anti-union laws.

That applies with even greater force to the Strikes Bill. Anti-union laws will not be stopped or abolished by this government or any government that is currently conceivable. Those laws will be stopped by collective mass action that makes them unenforceable.

Establish elected workers’ committees in workplaces, localities etc.

It is possible that sufficient pressure from workers in the various unions will compel some of the leaders to agree to unite some of the strikes, or to agree to indefinite strike action. However, that is as far as they will go and some won’t go that far. That isn’t simply because they are worried about breaking the anti-union laws. The general secretaries and full-time officials, even the more left wing & militant of them, can be considered as the management of the trade unions. Like all managers they are professional ‘in-betweeners.’  In a workplace the managers are the intermediaries between the owners and workers; in a trade union the officials are the intermediaries between the members and the employers.

The present struggle is now past the stage where leadership can be left to that union management. This movement needs a more secure base. To achieve that, it is essential that the rank-and-file of the strike movement organises and asserts its authority. We need to build our own leadership in every workplace and every locality. We need to elect strike committees, workplace committees or action committees in all sectors. Even a union leader as popular as Mick Lynch can’t substitute for that – or organise it from above.

These committees should be inter-union bodies wherever strikes involve members of different unions. Striking workers in every locality should set up city-wide or district-wide committees to coordinate action and build community links.

We need rank-and-file leadership because that is the most effective way – often the only way – to build the strong and close connections with local poor and working class communities. That unity between worker & communities, is now more necessary than ever for both sides – to defend public services, by occupations if necessary, and to stop evictions, block immigration raids etc.

MFJ believes we must build Strike-To-Win Committees and is already putting this into practice. STW committees include the elected shop stewards (or equivalent workplace represents) and other worker/activists in the strikes, as well as community supporters, family members, activists in other union groups, local renters’ unions, anti-raids networks, climate crisis groups, refugees, students and other community based-movements – all of whom have a material interest in the success of the current strikes, the defeat of the Strikes Bill and bringing down the government. That is the most effective way to sustain the strikes and support the many new leaders who are becoming active in the strikes and in the wider resistance to the most dangerous government in modern British history.

The rank-and-file must be strong and confident enough to give direction to the ‘official’ leadership – and to act independently. That will only be possible if elected rank-and-file leaders are already working together, have the confidence of their members, and have strong connections with struggles in their communities. There will be many times when victory depends on that.

18 January 2023

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