Article published: Monday, January 24th 2011
Students in sixth-form and further education (FE) colleges around the country are to stage a walk-out this Wednesday 26 January as part of the ongoing struggle to save Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and resist cuts to education.
The call for this week’s action was issued by ‘college students and a few supporters around the country who want to see the movement against cuts get stronger and spread’. They have produced a leaflet which is being distributed around college today and tomorrow.
The leaflet contains testimonies from students around the country on how the abolition of EMA will affect them, as well as advice on how to organise a walk-out and information on legal rights at demonstrations. Recent protests have been marred by police brutality and intimidation against young people, many of whom have little experience in dealing with policing at protests.
The group also call on teachers to join students and unite in the movement to protect access to education. The text says: “It shouldn’t just be up to students to fight against cuts to EMA, and it shouldn’t be up to just staff to defend jobs”.
Growing trade union and teacher support for the EMA movement came last week in the form of a letter of support signed by several National Union of Teacher officers from London branches.
This joined a declaration of ‘complete support for the call to opposition to the disgraceful and immoral attacks on access to education’ by GMB union general secretary.
Last week Labour forced a parliamentary vote on the issue but it was nevertheless passed by the Coalition majority in favour of abolishing EMA. Ministers had made it clear that a vote is not required to get rid of EMA.
At the end of last year MULE reported on the impact that the removal of EMA will have on Manchester as well as the way in which the Coalition government ‘distorted’ research and data from studies in order to justify their abolition of the allowance.
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