Linking the Picturehouse strike for a Living Wage with the TSOS campaign for stressless education

Workers and Students United! No to Stress in Studying! No to Low Pay!

My name is Joe Booth. I’m a 15-year-old socialist from the London Borough of Hackney. I’m currently in my final year at secondary school at an academy in Hackney Downs called the Mossbourne Federation. My school is a pressurizing experience: Students are giving at least 2 pieces of long homework a day, the examination structure is 100% just exams, students get long detentions for simply standing up without permission, students have to wear spotless black socks, school opens at 8.17am, and so it continues. It’s even pressurizing to teachers and other members of staff: Some work from 7.40am to 6.30pm, teachers spend their entire weekends with marking, classes often have over 15 students in total, a lot get overwhelmed responding to over 20 emails and organising their duties simultaneously, and so it continues.

This simply cannot continue! The stress and overload gets in the way of our learning and teaching, and has led to loss of self-esteem, demoralisation to get into higher education and high suicide rates.

You can read more about our solution to the mental health crisis here: www.workersliberty.org/node/30996. And about the surprising suicide rates here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36378573.

Hence, I and others launched a campaign in September this year called Take The Stress Out Of Studying, calling for the unity and solidarity of students, workers, parents, trade unions and the rest of the labour movement to draw up and mobilise for demands that will reverse education cuts, improve mental health, improve education, abolish school authoritarianism – i.e. exam pressure, bullying, large class sizes, curriculum rigidity, uniforms, UCAS – and give students and workers the individual attention they require. Websites are: tsos.blog | https://www.facebook.com/tsos.socialism

Coincidentally, I attended a picket line on Thursday, 14 December, 2017 at Hackney Picturehouse against the mistreatment of the workers at the cinema and every other Picturehouse and Cineworld cinema in the United Kingdom. The Picturehouse workers have been on strike now for over a year: they’re paid £9.30 per hour, no access to sick, maternity or paternity pay, and the managers are refusing to negotiate with them.

This simply cannot continue! No workers at such cinemas can give you tickets to watch Star Wars, give you pizza and coke to enjoy whilst relaxing, or anything for the means of production for our people – that’s the power in the hands of a worker – if they don’t receive enough money for a decent home, TV or any decent living standards, or don’t get paid at all if they break their legs, have a new offspring or anything to require a vital day off work.

You can read more about the campaign for this strike and sign the petition here: https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/picturehouse-cinemas-pay-your-staff-a-living-wage

Hence, I did a speech on that demonstration, conveying my solidarity with the strike and announcing my Take The Stress Out Of Studying (TSOS) campaign. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0UubAO17fo&feature=youtu.be&a=.

The points of solidarity between the Picturehouse strike and the campaign for stressless education, of which are

–          Students are the future of the workers, so why not support the workers who’re on strike for a Living Wage, if you’re supporting the movement for better and stressless education – Workers and Students United!

–          It was the workers who fought for a weekend, and a summer holiday, and an NHS – so why not support the fight for a Living Wage – No to Low Pay!

–          Too many students are demoralised during education, so they abandon their will to continue learning and get into the workforce so easily, as they cannot think for themselves – No to Stress, No to Exams!

–          If you’re a student, or education worker and you’ve crossed the picket line to see Star Wars, think again: these are people of our class – the workers – who are fighting for enough money for their lives and better treatment whilst serving you at work, and going into the cinema during this boycott will undermine our strike, and let the managers continue to pay their workers low pay – Picturehouse and Cineworld makes so much money, but doesn’t share any of it – so why not support the workers fight for better wealth for life and better treatment in the workforce?!! – Workers and Students United!

–          If you’re a Picturehouse striker and you support academisation and the exam system, think again: students are the future of our class – the workers – and they all want to learn, but their education collapses when they’re given 3 homework’s a day, and 2 hour detentions for defying unnecessary rules – let alone students, teachers and other school workers are demoralised in the workforce when they have to deal with 20 students at once, respond to over 15 emails simultaneously, and work for 11 hours a day – Workers and Students United!

Therefore, I call on students, education workers, parents, the labour movement, cinema workers and everyone who receives low pay, ever-lasting workload and workforce mistreatment of any sort, to expand the TSOS campaign and Picturehouse strike. So, if you or anyone else is in either of these situations, please invite people to TSOS – tsos.blog – convey them your solidarity and empathy, sit down and confer with them about their anxieties, explain patiently why workers and students should be fit to fight for better pay and stressless education in solidarity, pass motions onto your local trade union or Labour Party branch about TSOS and the Picturehouse workers and sign the petitions: https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/picturehouse-cinemas-pay-your-staff-a-living-wage | https://tsosdotblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/tsospetition.pdf.

We need to continue the struggle for better pay and stressless education, so why not attend the Picturehouse Strike Solidarity Gig on 10th January, 2018 at 7pm, where you can have discussions and meet like-minded people about the strike. Book tickets quickly: https://www.facebook.com/events/349171762223405/. I’m going to be leading a street stall in East London soon in the New Year of 2018; location, time and date TBC, but if you sign our petition and give your Gmail address, I can email you for information.

There’s a saying for the birth of every proletarian, socialist mass movement: Agitate, Educate and Organise. And that’s exactly what’s linking these two struggles together.

 

In solidarity, Joe Booth

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