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Strike breaking

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by nearmiss, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    The new Trade Union bill passing through Parliament could mean that in the event of a strike, employers would be allowed to pay agency staff to break the strike.

    I'm sure there will be a division of opinion on the part of supply teachers.

    What do you think the consequences of this could be, bearing in mind that even the head of policy for the REC has stated that she thinks it is a bad idea?

    In the last ten years, the number of days that schools have had to close due to strike action, can be counted out on one hand. Even the moderate NASUWT balloted to strike over workload issues. There have been no all out strikes of longer than one day since the 1980s. Why legislate now?

    Would you accept strike breaking work for your usual pay rate if offered a placement?

    I think it is reasonable to expect that many people who don't get placed regularly would have no choice.

    Bearing in mind that a majority of teachers (nearly 90%) polled by Nicky Morgan's survey replied that workload and Ofsted pressure were making the job untenable in some subject and age group areas and that on top of that, it is now acknowledged that there are regional and subject specific shortages of teachers and trainee teachers.

    Are union demands reasonable? i.e. for teachers to be considered professionals, for schools to be evaluated on a much wider set of criteria, for public sector employees' pay to keep pace with the cost of living, for collective bargaining to agree a fair and equitable pay structure. The policies of all three unions support these aims.

    I might put this post up on the Opinion Forum too. Crucial to forming any union's response to this pending legislation is the voice of supply teachers. Make sure that your union knows what you think as this is likely to be divisive.
  2. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I didn't see many contracted teachers striking to protect supply teachers' jobs when the government allowed cover supervisors to take them.

    But its academic since schools are not allowed to use agency staff to cover a striking employee.
    podilato likes this.
  3. In an era where everyone, every school or organisation is looking after themselves and given how little or no rights supply teachers have, I would say that supply teachers should not be expected to have no choice as to whether they want to work or not. However, I see this awkward and potentially destructive in terms of non statutory providers strengthening their position by getting to work hand in hand with the gov against trade union strikes, in a time when we are expecting the gov to hear us and improve supply teachers' rights.
  4. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    A few years ago the NUT called on it's members to strike. In the school where I worked at that time, only one teacher went on strike, despite all of the teachers being NUT members. All the other teachers worked. The striker lost a days pay and was constantly harassed and eventually forced out.

    Supply teachers, working through an agency are often paid less than half that of a teacher employed directly by the school, with no holiday pay, sick pay or pension. Supply teachers have received no support over these issues from teachers or from the unions. I for one would welcome the chance to work a few extra days.

    Teaching is in a mess because teachers have allowed it to become so. You will reap what you have sown.
  5. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    A lot of employed teachers do seem to be very blase (can't get an acute accent here) about the precarious nature of their position. It is becoming even easier to dismiss staff by setting them up to fail. The amount of union casework around this demonstrates a very clear trend. This is leading to a growth in casual staff. There are schools who have a large number of staff who appear to be full time but they are in fact long term agency staff, some serving up to 3 years at a client school, in which time they have no employees' rights at all. No one is irreplaceable.
  6. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    And unions continue to do zero to help them.
  7. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    For a long time I would have said no. But with the total lack of support from contracted teachers and unions I now would.

    It's all reasonable. What's not reasonable is the lack of support from unions towards supply teachers. It's as though the unions themselves don't consider supply teachers to be professionals. Does the lower union subs have something to do with it?
  8. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter


    That might change with the new Bill.
  9. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    I wonder if the above 3 messages will take 4 days or more to appear?
  10. podilato

    podilato New commenter

    Here, here les25paul. Thousands of us supply teachers were effectively sacked when teachers, yes teachers (and not the evil government) meekly agreed to sell us down the river in return for slightly reduced hours and allow the creation of the 'cover supervisor'. How many professions do you know actively campaign for worse conditions for some of its members? From my experience, permanent teachers are the embodiment of the 'I'm alright Jack' mentality.
    bostonbill1982 likes this.
  11. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I think anyone, whatever their role, whatever their job who undermines striking staff is despicable.

    This bill simply disempowers unions even further which is what the government wanted to do.
    Mangleworzle likes this.
  12. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    I don't see much evidence of solidarity from FT teachers for Supply Teachers.
    I have encountered the passive-aggressive ie - not leaving challenging work/leaving worksheets the class has done before/not leaving seating plan/actively telling pupils that 'supply teachers are paid more than me'
    So... yes. happy to cover a striking teacher.
    bostonbill1982 likes this.
  13. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    Yes the lack of consideration in that respect is really annoying. The FT teachers do not even seem to think supply teachers are professionals in addition to the unions.
    bostonbill1982 likes this.
  14. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Can you imagine the cover that will be left for a strike breaking ST? Support given with unruly pupils? etc. etc. Not just on the day of strike breaking either. Make your bed etc.
  15. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    That's a good description of the current situation. So no change there.
  16. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Err - yes, just pretty ,much like the regular cover that is left.
    I don't teach primary, but my primary supply colleagues tell me that the class teacher often leaves nothing and the supply teacher has to scrabble together work for the class.
    When were FT teachers ever prepared to strike for supply teachers conditions?
    bostonbill1982 likes this.
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Never, I didn't. My experience of supply teachers is they would never stand up anyone else either favouring "I don't do Mondays/Fridays haha" over being available when needed.

    As for cover work, I and my colleagues always left cover work, class lists etc. I certainly wouldn't do anything for a strike breaker however.

    There are good and bad FT and ST, the only time I ever heard ST's talking about support is when they wanted it from FT's to go on strike on their behalf.
  18. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    That's fightin' talk Mangleworzle. I asked my fellow supply teachers here if they would have no choice but to go to work if called in on a strike day. It's a hypothetical question as there have been so few strikes in the last decade.
    Many people who register as supply teachers are not getting placed at all and few have the luxury of turning work down because they want a long weekend. Most of them are desperate for work.
    The point is, our profession has been under attack and is now so weakened and divided that I doubt that strike action will be called at any time soon.
    If you read the many posts on here, you might glean why it is that many supply teachers are feeling marginalised.
    Yours and other posts playing full time teachers off against supply teachers are missing the point. Any teacher is a term away from being a supply teacher now that aggressive performance management observations are just cutting older and more expensive teachers down in their thousands. Yes, there are complacent full time teachers who don't realise how fragile their situation is and there are supply teachers who don't understand that accepting appalling working conditions as normal is undermining rights that unions fought for nearly two centuries to gain.
  19. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I'm not playing anyone off against anyone. There used to be a general consensus on here that cover supervisors were the result of f/t teachers not striking on behalf of supply teachers.

    "No choice" but to go in? Like f/t teachers have no choice not to go in? But you want f/t teachers to strike on your behalf? It can only get worse.
  20. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    It's not the same situation at all. If supply teachers don't go in they won't be paid. If f/t don't go in on strike day they won't be paid either but they have guaranteed pay the rest of the time, sick pay, holiday pay + pension pay. Supplies have none of these. I haven't read anyone say f.t should strike on behalf of supplies but you seen to be saying that supplies with none of the perks of f/t should strike on behalf of f/t.
    les25paul likes this.

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