Labour bites

Don’t question the school board

A teacher in the US State of Louisiana was removed from a school board meeting, forcibly handcuffed and jailed after questioning the school’s pay policies.

A local radio station reported tensions escalated during the meeting when middle school English teacher Deyshia Hargrave asked why superintendent Jerome Puyau was being offered a contract that gave him the opportunity to earn as much as $US38,000 ($49,000) more per year, while teachers and school workers had gone years without a raise.

“I feel like it’s a slap in the face of all the teachers, cafeteria workers, and any other support staff,” Ms Hargrave reportedly said.

Board members Laura LeBeouf and Kibbie Pillette both said that a new contract for Mr Puyau give him the opportunity to earn as much as $US38,000 more per year while the board hasn’t raised teacher salaries in more than a decade.

Women have several times been told to leave meetings, while men who speak out have not been removed, Ms LeBeouf said.

The teacher’s union and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are investigating and two board members are complaining the board treats women unfairly.

The teacher was later granted bail on charges of “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer, according to KATC.

“This is the most disgraceful and distasteful thing I have ever seen,” another audience member said as Ms Hargrave made her way out. (Source ABC News)

School support staff to strike

The union representing West Australian school support staff are taking industrial action on February 1 to protest the state government’s education cuts.

At a recent meeting, CPSU/CSA delegates unanimously agreed to take industrial action after the McGowan government failed to address their concerns.

The union says despite the government’s backflip on $23 million worth of cuts, including reversing a decision to scrap the School of the Air and funding for the gifted and talented program, there are still hundreds of jobs at risk.

CPSU/CSA branch secretary Toni Walkington says Wellington Square in East Perth is the focus of industrial action on the first day back at school.

Members at school will also display posters in support of the strike and the union will later organise rolling industrial action at education sites in key electorates.

“This is just the start of the proposed reductions and education workers will be sending a clear message that enough is enough,” Ms Walkington said. (source AAP)

Wages up so benefits down

In Canada Tim Hortons is a near religious institution however when Ontario raised the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 on 1 January, some Tim Hortons’ franchisees moved to offset the increased labour costs by eliminating paid breaks or increasing workers’ contributions for benefits.

Protesters rallied across Canada calling on Tim Hortons and their owners and the parent company Restaurant Brands International to reverse claw backs to workers’ benefits, tips and other entitlements.

Demonstrators gathered at 42 Ontario locations including 20 in Toronto. More rallies are scheduled to take place across Canada, according to organisers, who belong to the Fight-for-$15 movement, the Ontario Federation of Labour, and the independent advocacy group Lead Now. (Source:

Compiled by John Quessy