After spending 81 billion propping up the banks and 2 billion each year on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British government are faced with the task of balancing the books. Given that they have had a neo-liberal commitment to cutting the tax burden for the wealthy during the past twenty-five years, this is no easy task. It is, therefore, not surprising that the cuts will fall on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the community, those that have benefited least from the speculation fuelled economies of the nineteen-eighties and nineties.
The dispute at Tower Hamlets Community College (now in its fourteenth day), involving teacher redundancies and the cutting of 1,000 ESOL (English as a Second Language) places is clearly the shape of things to come. The firm response, all out strike, and the linking of this struggle with the wider community is a healthy sign, however, that the working class is shaking of its conservatism (one day strikes, selective action etc) and mirrors the fightback of Ford-Visteon car workers. We wish our colleagues well in their dispute and know a victory for those working in ESOL would be a victory for all workers, especially those in the language teaching sector.