Teachers set for one-day strike
TEACHERS at a Colchester high school are to carry out a one-day strike - and a union leader has warned more could follow.Ten members of staff at Alderman Blaxill will walk out on Wednesday after a dispute with governors over salary protection.
By Annie Davidson
TEACHERS at a Colchester high school are to carry out a one-day strike - and a union leader has warned more could follow.
Ten members of staff at Alderman Blaxill will walk out on Wednesday after a dispute with governors over salary protection. It is the first strike at an Essex school since 1987.
The striking staff, all members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), make up a quarter of the teachers at Walnut Tree Way school.
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The action has been hailed as a “last resort” by the NUT which says it had been working to try and resolve the issue.
The row started last year when the Government bought in new pay scales for teachers based on teaching and learning responsibilities.
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Every school was ordered to review staffing rather than moving teachers onto the new pay grades automatically.
The new system is being phased in over three years but could ultimately mean some teachers are forced to take a pay cut.
The NUT protested that the new system could lead to a loss of pay for thousands of teachers, as well as loss of pension and poor promotion prospects.
Now negotiations with Alderman Blaxill School have reached a stalemate and a formal ballot decided on strike action.
Jerry Glazier, general secretary of the Essex division of the NUT said: “The NUT has a strong policy of protecting members pay and conditions.
“It is regrettable that the governors have created a new management structure, with significantly fewer posts of responsibilities and failed to properly compensate for future significant pay loss for members.
“The NUT has made it clear that it remains willing to enter into negotiation with governors to resolve this dispute, by extending salary protection, and prevent to need to take further action”
Mr Glazier said a second strike date would be announced on Wednesday.
He added that teachers who were union members but not of the NUT would be reminded of the agreement between the unions that they should show solidarity and not cover for their absent colleagues.
Faith Spinlove, headteacher at Alderman Blaxill School, said parents had been informed of the strike by letter and there was no need for pupils to stay at home.
She said: “The salaries of a small number of staff will regrettably be detrimentally affected by the introduction of the new structure.
“However, there is in place a system for safeguarding salaries for up to three years and governors have agreed to review towards the end of that period whether the safeguarding can be extended.
“It is therefore regrettable that a minority of staff have decided to take strike action.
“It will not be necessary for students to stay away from school. They will be properly supervised whilst they are at school that day.”
The strike is the first at an Essex school since 1987, except for two years ago when staff at schools close to London held a one-day strike over living allowances in the capital.