Strikebreakers are being organised for the teachers strike!

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Teachers marching in London last June in defence of education
Teachers marching in London last June in defence of education

NATIONAL Union of Teachers (NUT) representatives yesterday condemned the government’s drive to organise strike-breaking during their national strike on March 26.
In revised ‘advice on handling strikes in schools’ leaked to the Telegraph newspaper, the Department for Education said head teachers should ‘take all reasonable steps to keep the school open for as many pupils as possible’.
It added: ‘Use volunteers who have a (Disclosure and Barring Service) check from another walk of life, for example as a sports coach or scout group helper.
‘These volunteers could work unsupervised with children subject to the head teacher carrying out a risk assessment.’
It even said that schools can bring in a ‘retired head teacher’ to cover for the head if he or she is taking
part in strike action.
Wandsworth NUT branch secretary Spencer Barnshaw told News Line yesterday: ‘It is appalling to see that the usual tactics of trying to disrupt the legitimate withdrawal of labour are now being advertised in national newspapers.
‘Not only is this a straightforward challenge to the democratic right of all trade unions to take strike action, but anyone with any common sense will realise that this proposal is totally irresponsible.
‘As a parent, would it be safe to send my children to school when I don’t know who will be teaching and supervising them or even whether there will be sufficient staff to ensure adequate safety? The answer is No.
‘Our teachers do not take strike action lightly. Our professional integrity has been dismantled so completely by Michael Gove that we have no choice.
‘The DfE and the Telegraph should grow up and focus on lobbying the Secretary of State to resolve the issues raised by
our wonderful teachers, rather than undermining them further.’
Haringey NUT branch secretary Julie Davies added: ‘The DfE have shown just how little they know about unions and industrial action.
‘No wonder we are deadlocked and we’ve been 17 weeks without talks to resolve the dispute.
‘We don’t remotely speak the same language.
‘It’s absurd. Head teachers are not going to break their own strike by ringing in an old head to replace them.
‘And heads are not going to provoke conflict with their own staff.
‘This is lawful industrial action, hiring strike breakers is unlawful – bringing scouts and volunteers in is disgraceful.’
Announcing the strike on Friday, NUT general secretary Christine Blower, said: ‘The NUT has made clear that strike action on 26 March can be stopped if the Secretary of State addresses teachers’ concerns and engages in serious dialogue with the NUT on the matters of our
dispute.’
‘The Education Secretary has offered a meeting with officials at the DfE on 25 February for all teacher unions to discuss talks about a wide range of matters.
‘We will engage positively in this process but there is still no commitment to address the issues in dispute, only how the policies he has imposed will be implemented.’
She urged: ‘Now more than ever teaching unions need to stand together to defend the members we represent and to speak with one voice.
‘The NUT is pleased to be hosting a conference on professional unity, open to all teachers and with speakers from other unions, on 1 March.’