AAD: Tuesday 22 May Kevin Courtney

23 May 2018

It’s not big, it’s not clever, it’s bullying

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the new National Education Union, brought solidarity greetings from teachers to train drivers in what he described as ‘one of our proudest craft trade unions, fighting for a decent public service on the railway.’

He said: ‘We have suffered wave after wave of attacks on trade unionism since Margaret Thatcher and the deindustrialisation in Britain. I come from south Wales and I’ve seen it first hand in the land of my fathers.

‘My mam, in Pontypridd, was a school dinner lady, and was one of the first to be privatised. Remember, the private sector doesn’t have some genius way of doing things that we never thought of; it’s getting working-class women working longer for less. That’s what privatisation means. It’s not big, it’s not clever, it’s just bullying. Your union, ASLEF, shows that resistance can win.

‘Privatisation is now hitting education – supply teachers, most, in this country, are now privatised. The supply agency charges a school £140 a day and they keep £40 of that. All they’ve done is make a phone call, that’s all, and they take a huge percentage! Because of the fantasy that the supply teacher is a self-employed company, so they get no holiday pay or protection.

‘Academisation is the privatisation of education and is directly affecting teachers and support staff and your children and putting the whole notion of a public service system at risk.

‘Public voices – like local councillors – have been reduced and private voices, increasingly influential, have private interests. And they pay themselves more than the prime minister. There's a bit of corruption, too, as they use other companies because they own an IT company and a school services company. It’s corruption! Private influence, private voices, private interests.

‘We need to deal with the threat of creeping casualisation. We need to get a government to put these things right. We’re not an affiliated union, like ASLEF, but we’re excited by what Labour is proposing.

‘Because we’re all in it together, as George Osborne said, but never meant. Facing the threats of privatisation. Solidarity to ASLEF!'



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