Sweden: School jobs at risk in Haninge

Parents, teachers and school students’ anti-cuts campaign

Right wing political parties plan massive cuts in schools and childcare in Haninge (south Stockholm) where Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) has two local councillors.

In elections, last September, right wing parties, in alliance with the Greens, took power in Haninge, by promising more money to schools. Haninge is one of the councils in Sweden that put the least money into school spending. Child poverty is as high as 14.3% and 40% of school students finish school without the necessary grades to move on to higher education.

Now the council leadership is suggesting cuts of between 40 and 60 million SEK (€4.2 – 6.2 million) in schools and childcare. These cuts will mean that 230 employees will lose their jobs. In one school, they would need to fire 24 % of the workforce.

Together with parents, school students and teachers, Elevkampanjen (ISR Sweden) organised a demonstration and school students’ strike, on 20 February. Four hundred turned out to put pressure on the politicians sitting on the youth and education committee. Teachers even brought their classes to the demonstration. Despite this, the councillors decided to go ahead with the cuts plans, claiming “only” 100 jobs would be axed.

The demonstration was reported on regional TV news and in national newspapers. Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI) is the only party participating in the protests and to mobilise for them. ‘Dagens Nyheter’, a major newspaper in Sweden, reported: “When Mattias Bernhardsson from the local far-left party, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna, worked up the masses with an inflammatory speech about a school strike, mass meetings and more bigger protests, the council leader just shook his head dejectedly”.

Two years ago, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna and Elevkampanjen organised the same kind of protests against school lunch fees, which the social democrats introduced. After demonstrations, involving 700 students, and a big boycott campaign, the struggle won.

Now Elevkampanjen is organising a new demonstration and school students’ strike on 7 March. Groups of 13-year-old school students are organising the strike in their schools and distributed leaflets.

At the last council meeting in Haninge a surplus of €10 million euros was reported for last year. Also a surplus of €6.2 million for this year was forecast. We demand this money should be spent on the schools. “The struggle goes on!” as the students’ leaflet says.

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March 2007