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Unions warn of teachers strike

PUBLISHED: 22:13 24 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

TEACHERS could strike if the school cash crisis sees weightier workloads.

The grim threat came from teaching union NASUWT representative Tim Beech.

More than 20 teaching jobs in Suffolk are set to be axed, although none of them by compulsory redundancy.

TEACHERS could strike if the school cash crisis sees weightier workloads.

The grim threat came from teaching union NASUWT representative Tim Beech.

More than 20 teaching jobs in Suffolk are set to be axed, although none of them by compulsory redundancy.

And that, coupled with budget cutbacks on classroom assistants, seems set to heap yet more upon the shoulders of our already overworked teachers.

The news is the latest in a series of hammerblows to childrens education revealed in the Evening Star.

But Mr Beech warned extra pressure would not be tolerated and pointed to government assurances on reducing teacher workloads.

He said: "If it goes creeping up we may have to look at industrial action in schools which are affected."

Fears over job safety remain despite current reassurances that schools in Suffolk are in a healthy enough state to ride out the storm.

Mr Beech said: "It's certainly still an issue and we've definitely been getting more calls on this."

Teacher contracts guarantee a maximum of 38 hours cover a year – meaning they will only cover for other staff absences for that period of time.

If teacher and classroom assistant shortages mean that figure starts being exceeded, Mr Beech said it was almost inevitable ballots on strike action would follow.

And the union official pointed to further government assurances on the so-called 24 tasks – essentially administrative work designed for non teaching staff.

Mr Beech warned any return to the days of teachers being weighed down with wads of typing or massive reports to collate would also bring an angry response.

He said: "We will not countenance any increase in workload."


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