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Sneaky behaviour from staff regarding Strike

Discussion in 'Primary' started by jondabell, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. jondabell

    jondabell New commenter

    Hi,
    Our school was going to be open on November 30th. The head wanted to keep it open. Lots of us were on strike, but the head was going to try hard to persuade the staff not to take part in the action. As a result, I planned to make a picket line and hopefully persuade certain people not to go to work. Just a peaceful protest, but at least if anyone intended to cross they would have to consciously make a decision.
    Then, late last week it was decided that our school would be on strike.
    Now, rather sneakily I feel, I've heard that a handful of staff plan to come in to work unannounced, with the head, so that they don't lose a day's pay so close to Christmas. They've done it as a secret little pact today, and are hoping they'll be able to come in and potter around at an empty school all day and get paid. The head has even made a few throwaway comment in the staffroom like "Oh, there couldn't have been a picket line anyway unless a union rep was present", which I believe is to dissuade anyone from picketing if they find out what plans she's made.
    a) Can we still picket? Do we need a union rep present, as I understood it that we do not.
    b) Is this acceptable behaviour? To make pacts in secret to protect one's money??

     
  2. jondabell

    jondabell New commenter

    Hi,
    Our school was going to be open on November 30th. The head wanted to keep it open. Lots of us were on strike, but the head was going to try hard to persuade the staff not to take part in the action. As a result, I planned to make a picket line and hopefully persuade certain people not to go to work. Just a peaceful protest, but at least if anyone intended to cross they would have to consciously make a decision.
    Then, late last week it was decided that our school would be on strike.
    Now, rather sneakily I feel, I've heard that a handful of staff plan to come in to work unannounced, with the head, so that they don't lose a day's pay so close to Christmas. They've done it as a secret little pact today, and are hoping they'll be able to come in and potter around at an empty school all day and get paid. The head has even made a few throwaway comment in the staffroom like "Oh, there couldn't have been a picket line anyway unless a union rep was present", which I believe is to dissuade anyone from picketing if they find out what plans she's made.
    a) Can we still picket? Do we need a union rep present, as I understood it that we do not.
    b) Is this acceptable behaviour? To make pacts in secret to protect one's money??

     
  3. thingwall

    thingwall New commenter

    I wouldn't bother picketing. Go to your local rally instead. If any of your striking union are working that's their sad look-out. They'll have to live with the fact that what we win wasn't down to them.
     
  4. Several people in my school are planning to come in and get paid even though their union is on strike and they have said they will be striking :( They think they can get away with it as everyone who cares will not be in as they will be striking themselves.
     
  5. jondabell

    jondabell New commenter

    Then surely the answer is to form a picket line. Then at least you're making them think about their actions as they take that step across it. If they cross the line because they don't support the strike and want to be in work, that's fair play. If they support the strike but just don't want to lose any money, surely that's an example of the most appalling double standards.
     
  6. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Our school is closed to children, but non striking staff still have to attend. If they didnt they wouldnt get paid. Only our head and one teacher is not striking in our school. Our head is already having a dig at the rest of us, by allowing the teacher to complete something during strike day that the rest of us will have to do in our own time. One of our TAs who isnt in a union so isnt striking was happy to do a lot of admin, photocopying and mounting work for everyone who was on strike, but the head has put a stop to that and has given her a load of jobs to do for him instead.
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    So is this 'secret little pact' merely a secret from you? We have staff who are planning to come in ans staff who are planning to strike. I more or less know who is doing what, but not entirely. I wouldn't say that those who have elected not to strike have been in any way sneaky, nor indeed those who are striking. Your colleagues have the right to make their own decisions without reference to what you are doing.

    If you want to picket, then do so. but don't expect to persuade people at the last minute to go home rather than to work unless you threaten them, which would get you in to trouble.

    It is totally acceptable to make ones own decision whether to strike or not without telling all and sundry.
     
  8. As a head I feel really sad and ashamed reading this thread and the behaviour of some 'colleagues'. This strike should be uniting us as a group of professionals not providing ammunition for us to fire at each other and drive wedges between staff.
    My school is open tomorrow but I feel very strongly that each person has to make their own decision about strike action. Our ancestors fought for free speech and the right to strike and it is down to each person to choose to exercise those rights. I respect all my staff for whatever decision they have made - it will not have been easy for any of them.
     
  9. jondabell

    jondabell New commenter

    I don't care if they go in or not. My issue with it is that we sat as a staff and agreed to strike. We also agreed beforehand that there would be a peaceful picket line if staff were going in. Now it sounds like two or three people have decided they want to go in to work and get paid. They have done this behind everyone else's back, against their union and against the agreement we all made. I believe they've done it this way so that there won't be a picket line.
    Example - think of the miners strike in the '80s. Imagine if the strikers and non-strikers ALL said they were striking. Then, while the "real" strikers were at home thinking they've effectively closed down the pit for the day, the "non-strikers" could sneak into work without having to make that decision of crossing a picket line. There wouldn't be a picket line, cos no-one would think it was needed. To me, it's a devious way of removing the threat of a picket line.
     
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Which could mean that these staff felt pressurised into agreeing to a strike that they weren't happy about. Once they had time to think about it and talk to each other, they have decided to stick to their principles and so not strike.
    Which, if they felt threatened/pressurised at the original decision making meeting, is entirely reasonable.
     
  11. I don't understand this " i can't afford to strike before christmas" malarkey. Don't peiple understand that their pension contributions , on average, will increase by £60 each month and that they will have to work longer to earn less as apensioner.
    short sightedness
     
  12. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Hmm,
    Do you not feel that maybe the staff might have been pressured into going on strike as you all sat down together? It is up to every individual to decide whether to strike or not. They have to tell the head and nobody else.

    As for the person going in who gets to do something that the rest of you will have to do another day. Tough luck. You decided to strike, deal with it. They won't be teaching, so will have to do something that day.
     
  13. I agree with the above post, I feel that the idea that we all agreed together is slightly naive - I think if you agree with the strike it is easy to be vocal and agree but if you don't it is harder to say what you believe. I wonder too if some of those who 'agreed' have gone away and discussed it and decided that they want to stick together and not strike!
     
  14. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    No they don't.
     
  15. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I apologise. I meant it is the decent thing to do and people should tell the head on an individual basis.
     
  16. Leicester_Vics

    Leicester_Vics New commenter

    I don't really see the problem, if they're still going in to work. It's not like they're sitting at home having a nice day off and being paid. They're still getting up and going to work, so why shouldn't they get paid.

     
  17. A huge amount of pressure has been put on staff to strike in my school. A couple of the younger teachers told me today that they don't really want to strike but feel like they have to as they've told the head they will go with the majority and strike if everyone else does. A letter has gone out to say their classes will be closed because of the strike but what happens if they change their minds?
     
  18. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    This sort of thing appals me. What kind of people have been pressurising ANYONE to strike, especially younger and so less self confident staff? Absolutely dreadful behaviour.
    To be honest, it is probably too late now. I would have suggested they went to the HT earlier and told him/her and only him/her that they intended to work. They have no need to tell anyone else, though in partially closed schools it will have been obvious. I don't think the HT will be impressed if they suddenly turn up tomorrow, but they are within their rights to do so.

    For further strikes, of which there may well be some, tell them before any staff/union meeting that they can just sit quietly there and not strike when it comes to it if they don't want to them. Make sure they know that there are plenty of staff who support their right to make their own decision and who will ensure no bullying or nastiness occurs.
     
  19. Hmmm...seems people dont grasp what a Union is, or what it should do! As a member of a Union you get a vote on strike action. This is called a ballot. This is the point in the striking process that a member of a Union has their say. The union then goes with some measurement of the majority (i.e. more than 50% say). If the majority of the membership of the Union decides strike action is necessary and a strike is called, ALL members should strike. This idea is what forms the power base of a Union, the power base which protects YOUR interests as a teacher in exchange for your annual membership fee.

    If the Union of which you are a member has called a strike, and you dont strike, you are making the Union strike action pointless and also negating the point of the original ballot! Really, if you don't agree with the strike action of the Union for which are a member, you should cancel your membership or change Union. The notion that it is ok to choose whether to strike or not regardless of what your Union has collectively decided to do, is ridiculous!

    If you believe in Unions and their message (i.e. protecting the interests of the workforce), strike and picket! If you dont, don't join a Union! It's a fairly simple concept really!!
     
  20. Thanks, that's what I'll try to do. I feel sorry for them because there are a number of very outspoken people on our school who like to tell others what to do and, of course, the younger less confident ones are those who are targeted.
     

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