Lewisham’s school truancy team that helps the life chances of many the borough’s young people will hold a 24 hour strike on 12 March over plans to nearly halve the workforce.
Unite, the country’s largest union, has called the strike for next Wednesday (12 March) from 00.01 over the council’s proposals to cut the staff from 22 to 12. The staff had voted for strike action.
Unite members employed by Lewisham council in the attendance and welfare service will be striking in defence of a service which assists about 4,000 school children each year.
The vital frontline service has been successful in the battle against school truancy. In league tables compiled by the Department for Education, the borough comes first with comparable statistical neighbours and nationally is seventh best.
Council bosses are preparing to cut the service by an additional £300,000, having already slashed it by £200,000 – and is proposing that schools ‘buy in’ the service from existing budgets. Unite questions whether schools will ‘buy in’ this service.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Our members are taking this action as a last resort in defence of a service that helps 4,000 school children annually.
“We call on the council to reconsider its plans. If the cuts go ahead, the result will be a disaster for truancy levels across the borough, with a real impact on young people and the social problems that will follow.
“We understand the financial straitjacket facing the council because of the large cuts to funding imposed by communities secretary Eric Pickles – however, our members are determined to save this service.”
For further information please contact Onay Kasab 07771 818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
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Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.