Monday, 25 November 2013

Socialist Students helps force NUS to back education strike

The National Union of Students’ NEC voted “to stand in complete solidarity with workers taking strike action” in the December 3rd strike in higher & further education. Employers must now face education workers & students united as the dispute over pay and equality enters its 4th month. The motion passed, (see below) contained a number of mandates for NUS to carry out in the build up to the strike (though disgracefully, the clearest language calling for students not to cross picket lines was removed by Labour Students). It’s now vital that we maintain this pressure and use the NUS support to help organise students to turn out on the picket lines and bring solidarity. We should also put pressure on students unions to make sure that joint student union, trade union campus meetings that the motion called for are carried out. Socialist Students and NUS NEC member Edmund Schluessel, who submitted the motion, said, “education workers and students are natural allies. I hope this is the start of a long partnership against austerity & in the fight for an education system free at the point of use.”

NUS’s national executive also supported Socialist Students’ policy calling for nationalisation of the energy industry and tighter controls on rents and landlords. Labour Students showed themselves to be in the minority of society who opposes cheaper, more efficient, democratically-controlled public services. As NUS prepares to intervene in the 2015 general election, it should listen to its members and help build a new mass party of the working class that serves the interests of students, not bosses.

Emergency Motion passed by NUS NEC
proposed by Socialist Students member, Edmund Schluessel

NEC believes
• People who work for our universities, from lecturers to library staff, are taking strike action on 3 December. This is the second day of strike action that has been organised this term by the trade unions UCU, Unison and Unite
• The strike has been called over a 1% pay offer, which represents a real terms wage cut. This comes after many years of declining wages. Academic staff have seen a real-terns pay cut of 13.8% since 2009
• Many of the workers taking part in action will also tell you that their reasons for striking include ever increasing work-loads, low-pay, casualistion, zero-hour contracts, bullying and discrimination
• Many students are among those who will be striking, including the many thousands who rely on teaching and part time work to continue their studies
• The strike on 31 October drew wide support from students, many of whom joined rallies and pickets in support of those on strike.

NEC further believes
• The issues the strike relates to directly affect students. Under-paid, overworked and undervalued staff are never going to be able to give students the best possible help and support, however dedicated they may be
• This strike is part of both the fight to defend education and to beat back the brutal austerity policies that are seeing jobs destroyed, living standards decimated and the future for the next generation snatched away
• Strikes are the most powerful weapon working people have to fight to change things for the better – they demonstrate the huge potential power of workers
• For Students, this strike may be a minor inconvenience in the short-term, but the long term damage that’s being done to education will have far more detrimental effects if it goes unchallenged

NEC resolves
• To stand in complete solidarity with workers taking strike action in our universities
• To produce a leaflet for distribution on campuses, explaining why students should support strikes and attend picket lines to bring support and solidarity
• To make the campaign to support the strike a top item on the NUS website and use social media networks to publicise it
• To write to all students unions advising them to host joint public meetings with campus trade unions in the run up to the strike to attempt to raise awareness of the issues

Socialist Students petition supporting the strikes, you can use it on the picket lines and before the strike!

Socialist Students leaflet for the strike , this one already includes a public meeting idea

Socialist Students strike poster , and the public meeting on this one too

Socialist Students original motion can be found here

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