Since the results of the strike ballot was announced many education workers have joined the NEU reaching 32,000 additional members by yesterday – 91% are teachers. . Rallies and marches are planned in towns and cities across the country. See full list so far HERE.
Union Reps report a mood of determination and excitement in schools. Because so many young teachers have not been involved in strikes before, briefing meetings have been giving guidance on how to picket and answering members’ questions about the action. There have been workshop sessions preparing placards, slogans and songs.
The fighting spirit brought about by collective action has lifted morale and government statements attacking teachers and proposals for more anti-strike legislation has strengthened determination.
The National Associarion of Headteachers, that represents senior managment, mostly in primary schools, was bitterly disappointed that it did not reach the anti-union ballot returns threshold, attribiuting it to postal delays as a result of strike action by postal workers. They are considering a re-ballot.
Joint action by educators and managers, plus support workers, would have been been the best and unprecedented outcome but nevertheless the outlook is positive with the NEU and NAHT reaching agreement on advice to members:
It is recognised that members of NAHT in England are not protected in taking action under the current industrial action laws and cannot take action on strike days. It is recognised that members of NEU will take strike action, giving up a day’s pay to stand up for our joint aims for a pay increase.
As such, both NAHT and NEU agree on the following:
– Education professionals are united in the aims of our campaign, and we expect all to recognise the fundamental right to strike and the responsibility of leaders to take management decisions to carry out statutory duties. It is helpful to discuss our shared aims of good working conditions for all staff, recognise the different steps that union members can take and maintain good relations to further these demands
– The purpose of picket lines is to raise awareness of the strike and the goals of the campaign, and as laid down in law, for NEU members to ask other staff not to go to work. Staff joining picket lines will want to engage with colleagues and will persuade without inappropriate pressure on others. While it is recognised that the employer’s permission is not needed for a picket line, it would be helpful if discussions take place at a school level where picket lines are planned and access to the premise for refreshments/use of toilets is agreed on (subject to safeguarding measures being satisfied) via the picket supervisor
– Staff are under no obligation to provide advance notice regarding whether or not they will be taking strike action, and school leaders will not put staff under pressure to do so. However, it is also recognised that school leaders have a duty to carry out a risk assessment in advance to assess whether a school can be kept open or partially open. We jointly agree that no pressure should be placed on staff to attend work on a strike day or to cross a picket line
– That while NAHT leaders are prevented from taking strike action at this time, the NEU is calling out its leadership members and would not expect work to be covered other than as required by statutory duty.
NEU NAHT Joint Letter
NEU and NAHT will continue to work together to promote good relationships to secure our shared aims of good working conditions for all staff.
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