The raising of tuition fees would be a direct attack on access to higher education, especially for working-class students. It is part and parcel of a broader strategy of “marketisation” in education. Westminster is committed to de-regulating the higher education sector in favour of private companies, creating what it calls a ‘level playing field’ for profit-making companies. Stormont has not stood in the way and has facilitated this approach at every stage.
Jobs & Education
The trade union movement must connect itself to the aspirations and demands of this section of young and precarious workers. This means fighting on more than just the immediate “bread and butter” issues. Unite Hospitality in Belfast, which Socialist Party members are central to, has spearheaded the way forward
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain has called for the introduction of a four-day working week. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady compared this demand to previous milestone achievements such as the eight-hour day achieved in the 19th century and the two-day weekend won in the 20th century. Unfortunately, no specific time frame has been targeted other than… this century!
Jeremy Corbyn’s call to scrap tuition fees and to introduce maintenance allowances is a welcome development in the fight for free education. Although there is a way to go before these reforms are won, the Labour Party’s proposal to invest an extra £25 billion into education in England offered a clear alternative to the long-term programme of cuts and corporatisation.