Teaching union prepares to strike

A TEACHERS' union has confirmed it is officially in dispute with Suffolk County Council over plans to close middle schools - and will prepare to strike.

A TEACHERS' union has confirmed it is officially in dispute with Suffolk County Council over plans to close middle schools - and will prepare to strike.

The Suffolk branch of the NASUWT has pledged to work with the authority in a bid to resolve the dispute, but warned it would not shy away from balloting members.

It claims the council has “failed to consult” with the recognised trade unions over their members' terms and conditions.

In a letter to the union's Suffolk members, Chris Lines, national executive member for Essex, Suffolk, Thurrock and Southend, said: “We feel that members of NASUWT who have worked so hard for the council and are an integral part in delivering a high quality of education to its pupils deserve better than this.


You may also want to watch:


“The NASUWT has a legal right to be fully involved in shaping the future of the educational system in Suffolk to ensure that your jobs and careers can be safeguarded.

“We will be meeting with SCC in the near future to hopefully resolve this dispute, so that we can be fully consulted on all of the issues that will affect you at this very difficult time.

Most Read

“However, if we cannot get a satisfactory resolution to this dispute, it may be necessary to ballot members so that we can step up the action in protection of jobs.”

The news has come in the aftermath of county councillors voting through the move to two-tier education. It will see the axe fall on Suffolk's 40 middle schools, leaving only secondary and primaries. The council is now preparing for the next stage of the reorganisation process.

Keith Anderson, federation secretary of Suffolk NASUWT, said he said it had not seen a paper going before the council on May 10 which will say which areas would be in the first of the phases of change.

He said the union now feared changes would be made before it could give its specialist advice and an “incorrect system” would be introduced.

Rosalind Turner, the council's director for children and young people, said: “We regret that the NASUWT has felt the need to declare a collective dispute with us in relation to consultation, governance and planning arrangements for the next stage of the School Organisation Review.”

She said they had invited unions to a meeting to discuss how they might “collectively take things forward”.

N Do you think the unions are right to consider strike action? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter