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Industrial Action in Independent School?

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by funtime, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Hi, sorry if I sound really naive, but I am not totally sure how the proposed vote on industrial action works and especially as I work in an independent school? I know that to vote for action is the right thing to do, but as I am employed by the school, and not the LA does it still work the same way? I worry about how the parents will react, as they have more of a first-line contact with us and are able to call us direct in school. I know that there shouldn't be any repercussions, but I am worried nonetheless, if industrial action does go ahead. Anyone in the know and can help?
  2. The voting is conducted under a secret ballot therefore no one will know how you vote so don't worry about that.
    As far as I understand it, if you are a member of a union, and a majority of that union's members vote to take industrial action ,then you are perfectly entitled to strike. However, there may or may not be informal pressure applied as you are in an independent school, and the school rather than LA is your employer ; I don't know without the specifics. What are other members of staff doing? Do you have a union rep?
    However, if you are in an independent school, would the pension changes affect you in any case? They are Scottish public sector pensions. Again, I couldn't say without knowing without specifics.
    Hope this helps
  3. Thanks for your reply. I know that the ballot is secret, but if I don't turn up to work, the parents will know and I've had some pretty nasty phone calls already from parents on my "failure" to deal with their (quite frankly unreasonable) requests, so I feel a bit vulnerable on this one.
    I believe that the pension changes do affect me, as I pay into the STSS. I have emailed the EIS direct, as my local organisation is unavailable, and my school rep and I do not get on at all. Wow, I sound really unlikeable...... I should clarify that my rep has had a run-in with lots of staff, not just me!
    I know that I am doing the right thing to safeguard my future, but I know that some parents will see this one day of action being to the detriment of their child's education (even thought most of them will have taken them out of school for about 3 weeks over the school year to get cheap flights).
    Hope that's a bit more info for you?
  4. You're in a union so that you're protected from being seen to make an individual decision. Apologise to parents but be clear that as a union member you have to abide by whatever decision is made, regardless of your own feelings on the matter.
  5. In which case, you will have to weigh up the pros and cons. A day off and the awkwardness of facing the parents, or what you believe to be right and in your own best interests. You can always fall back on the fact that it is a union decision. If parents become difficult about this , refer them to your SMT who are paid to be responsible for line managing you. Legally, you will have done nothing wrong. If you feel that you are being unfairly singled out in your school for union activity, then keep a written record: I believe that it is against the law to discriminate on these grounds, and the local association will be able to help you.

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