Teachers Strike!

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Gate Gourmet locked-out workers picketing the Hillingdon office of the TGWU urging all workers not to sign the notorious ‘Compromise Agreement’
Gate Gourmet locked-out workers picketing the Hillingdon office of the TGWU urging all workers not to sign the notorious ‘Compromise Agreement’

TEACHERS in four schools in Calderdale, Greenwich, Newham and Doncaster will take strike action this week to protect salary levels following a review forced on schools by government changes to teachers’ salary structure.

The four schools are: Hipperholme and Lighcliffe High School, Calderdale, on the 13 December; and on 15 December, Plumstead Manor Secondary School, Greenwich; Shaftesbury Primary School, Newham and Northcliffe Secondary School, Doncaster.

The changes involve a move from payments for ‘management responsibilities’ to payments for ‘teaching and learning responsibilities’. The review has to be completed by the end of December in England. The National Union of Teachers opposed the changes and the timescale.

Teachers can lose up to £10,572 a year yet schools were not required to alter their structures radically and could have avoided such loss, including damage to teachers’ careers and pensions.

Before carrying out formal strike ballots, the union conducted indicative ballots to illustrate to the employers the strength of members’ resolve and to try to ensure successful negotiations. So far 182 indicative ballots have been held.

The review is taking place in more than 18,000 schools in England. Formal ballots have been undertaken in eight schools with only the above four having to take strike action. A further 16 formal ballots are underway.

Steve Sinnott, NUT General Secretary, said: ‘The NUT’s campaign to safeguard teachers’ salaries is succeeding. Already many schools have changed proposals and adopted structures that do not mean teachers lose pay.

‘The NUT does not take industrial action lightly. The last widespread action was in the mid-eighties. But the union is determined to protect its members.

‘Many schools followed NUT advice and benefited from no loss of morale amongst staff. Structures that were working well were maintained, albeit under the new system.

‘The union is determined to act where members are threatened with pay loss. The first strikes this week could be followed by more next term if the disputes with individual schools remain unresolved.

‘The union wants to settle these disputes and has emphasised to the schools concerned that we are ready to re-start negotiations to find settlements.’