French unions lead mourning of assassinated teacher Samuel Paty

Statement from Education International:

In gatherings all over France, tribute was paid to Samuel Paty, 47, a history, and geography teacher who was the victim of a terrorist attack near his school, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the Paris suburbs. Paty was decapitated following an Internet campaign against the use in his class of a caricature of Mohammed. The apparent murderer, a man of 18 years of age, was killed in a confrontation with police.

Paty had used the same caricature in his courses on freedom of expression in previous years without incident. It was one of the images published by “Charlie Hebdo”, a satiric magazine.… Read on ...

Defying Hitler. The Germans who resisted Nazi rule

Review of Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis ‘Defying Hitler. The Germans who resisted Nazi rule by Merilyn Moos

Books about resistance to Nazism are suddenly pouring from the presses. Four such books were recently reviewed in one issue of the NY Review of Books. One might well ask why, over seventy years since Nazism was crushed, this outburst of interest. The answer is not comforting. Some of us are scared that something similar could happen again.

The absence of interest in the past is easily explained. The resistance did not fit easily into the conflicting ideologies: the Americans wanted nothing to do with movements which smacked of Communism, and the USSR, though more apparently supportive, regularly saw the organised resistance as too autonomous or too Jewish.… Read on ...

UCU’s Fund the Future FE campaign

UCU members in further, adult and prison education are invited to register for UCU’s Fund the Future FE launch webinar: 7 July 2020 from 5:00pm till 6:15pm. Register here.

This event will launch UCU’s Fund the Future FE campaign. It will be the beginning of a discussion about the role of our sector post the Covid-19 crisis. A discussion document has been produced with input from members of UCU’s further education committee (FEC) to set out a vision and start the conversation which can be found here.

This exciting launch event will cover the many aspects of our complex sector and will be followed up by further webinars for each area.… Read on ...

Sacking of Long-Bailey

The University and College Union (UCU) branch at the Grand Parade campus of the University of Brighton passed the following resolution:

This branch expresses its dismay that the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has been sacked for retweeting an article from The Independent, by the actor Maxine Peake, which linked Israeli training to the ‘knee on the neck’ tactic of restraint. The branch notes that this is not an egregious link: the tactic is widespread in its use by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters, and that the training of US law-enforcement officers by Israeli agencies has been in existence for many years.Read on ...

POLICE RACISM and UNION COLLUSION – the John Fernandes Case

In the early 1980s, John Fernandes, a lecturer at the Metropolitan Police Cadet School in Northwest London, published some essays by police cadets that were clearly racist. In the ensuing scandal, John was dismissed and his trade union, NATFHE, one of the forerunners of UCU, initiated disciplinary proceedings against officers of his branch who supported him. Now, nearly 40 years later, a pamphlet written to support John at the time has been found and digitised. At a time when the relationship between the police and the black community is in the news, it provides a useful contribution to the debate. It is particularly relevant to the discussion about the difference between “Multicultural Education” and “Anti-racist Education”.… Read on ...

Sign the Petition against the suspension of free travel for Older Persons during morning peak hours

Given that very few older persons are using public transport as the overwhelming majority are abiding by government advice and recognising that once any right is withdrawn, it is always hard to regain,
We the undersigned call for an immediate withdrawal of the suspension of free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and and 60+ Card during morning peak hours.

Sign here…


Len_Duvall, London Assembly Member for Greenwich & Lewisham and Leader of the London Assembly Labour Group said:
The Government’s attack on the Freedom Pass and 60+ Card is an attack on us all. It hits workers, it hits the vulnerable, it hits those least able to afford a fares rise.Read on ...

If You Got A Boss, You Need A Union

The singer-songwriter Steve Earle has a new album out in which he sings about the worst mining disaster in the United States in 40 years.

On April 5, 2010, the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, owned by coal giant Massey Energy, exploded. Twenty-nine workers. Four years later, Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, which had been fined nearly $400,000 in the year before the explosion for repeated and serious safety violations, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to violate mine safety rules, conspiring to cover up those violations, and providing false statements about Massey’s safety record.Read on ...

Solidarity with Mikalaj Valadzko

I hope you will take a few minutes to consider supporting a LabourStart campaign of basic class significance. It concerns denial of right to independent trade union representation among a group of vulnerable workers in Belarus. At the centre of the picture is dismissal of union organiser Mikalaj Valadzko. The LabourStart solidarity appeal underlines the urgency of international labour movement support:

Mikalaj Valadzko was suspended from his job at a shaft sinking project in Belarus after he started a local union to defend workers’ rights. The work is being carried out by German company Redpath Deilmann owned by Canadian company Redpath Mining.Read on ...

Margaret Dewey

Margaret Dewey, who sadly has died recently, was a key part of the lively NATFHE branch at the College of North-West London. She was an ESOL lecturer and at some point in charge of ESOL in the long-gone days when the government encouraged and almost properly funded ESOL, even if college management had, we suspected, a nasty habit of siphoning off some of its funds. The College was spread over many sites (Margaret mainly in Harlsden)  and the union provided a bridge for its left-wing activists. We had a ‘Rank and File ‘ college grouping , even if we didn’t call ourselves that, where we plotted and became good friends.… Read on ...

An end to incorporation

An article appeared in FE week reporting that the government is about to release a white paper on the future of Further Education. It says that the government is planning to take control of the sector.

It quotes Gavin Williamson saying:

“The FE sector is playing a pivotal role in making sure more people can access the high-quality education and training they need to progress and will support our economic recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak. Our reforms will build on and strengthen the excellent work already happening across the country and will ensure the FE sector is at the heart of every community.”Read on ...