Jane Coles

UCU: this is a dispute we can win

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The remarkable strike by university staff in the UCU union has involved whole new layers of workers in struggle and raised much wider political issues than the pension scheme dispute that is driving it. Socialist Review spoke to three strikers from different universities about their experiences.

Who could have imagined that university lecturers and other staff would have engaged in a 14-day strike to defend their pensions, still less imagined that after 10 days of the strike they would wholeheartedly reject an attempt to impose a settlement that would have sold short the principle of defined benefits?

The union is now faced with the option of activating a further 14 days of strike, possibly during the crucial period of exams, as well as Action Short of Strike (ASOS), working to contract, to ensure that the status quo is maintained.

Testing Times

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Review of 'Another School is Possible', Terry Wrigley, Bookmarks £9.99

For those of us who work in the state education sector, the election of a Labour government nine years ago was greeted with some relief and a degree of optimism. The Tories' damaging attacks on comprehensive education might be brought to an end by Labour.

Education: Choice for the Few

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Jane Coles explodes the myths behind the government's rhetoric about 'diversity' and 'parental choice' in schools.

Back in 1997, when Blair summed up his government's priorities as 'education, education, education', I presume we were meant to take it as a promise, not a threat. However, we need look no further than Blair's own constituency in the north east for confirmation of his intention, where parents in Hurworth-on-Tees are fighting to keep their local comprehensive open.

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