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Striking- what happens?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by anon3946, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Forgive me, I am but a newbie to this field. (And not too sure where to put this query, so going for somewhere that seems to attract a fair bit of sage wisdom.)
    I'm a cover supervisor- one of two in the school- who doesn't belong to a union. I've never witnessed a strike before- heard of them happening, sure- but know only that people refuse to work on principle. Would someone explain what happens please? Do teachers show to the school and not enter? Enter but not go to class? Stay at home? Go elsewhere to protest? Throw rocks at the "scabs"? (Last one is a joke, I swear!)
    I've heard rumours some school will close for the day- is this the desired effect or does it defeat the purpose? Will we be told in advance or will staff and students be turned from the doors?
    If school is in session, am I correct in assuming cover work won't have been set so I should be prepared for that eventuality?
    Other things I should know? Any anecdotes of past strikes? Etc, etc.
     
  2. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    I was about to ask a similar thing.
    What happens if my union doesn't strike but all the others do?
    Would school shut as there are not enough teachers to teach? Would I be expected to go in? Should I go in?
     
  3. Someone correct me if I'm wrong as I'm no expert, but my understanding is that you should not be asked to cover for a striking colleague (in fact your non-striking union will probably advise headteachers of this). If this means there are not enough staff to safely keep school open, it will shut. Staff not striking can be required to attend school on that day to work in school without students present.
     
  4. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    Yes, this is the position ATL took last time.
    Off topic, but if you're working with children in any capacity, you'd be well advised to join a union. Unison are the union of most of our support staff.
     
  5. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    On a side note, perhaps the strike will mean that the school bursar can stop whinging about the cost of supply and covering staff who go on courses/examiners' meetings/inductions etc. They'll save a fortune on Thursday 30th June since nearly all our staff are in NUT or NASUWT.
     
  6. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Why especially if you are working with children, or have I misunderstood your emphasis?
     
  7. I know that's true of teachers; what of those of us employed to cover? Do we only cover teachers who wouldn't be striking but are away for other reasons?
    If, for example, 3 teachers are on strike- enough still in to keep a school open, say- do those classes go uncovered? Surely a legal issue, even with well behaved classes? (And there are several classes I'm not sure I'd trust to spend an hour alone!)
    What about TAs and CSs? Those of us whose jobs don't require planning and marking, etc? (Okay, I do have work to do but that's additional and voluntary duties and as I have no guarantee of free periods, I do it all at home, so rarely have work to do.)
    And if school IS shut, would we be told in advance? I have a fair trek to get to my school- I live a way out of catchment. Don't fancy losing £15 in petrol costs to not be able to work! Especially if I lose money for the day- and will that happen as I'd be willing to work that day?
    Sorry, forgive all the questions!
     
  8. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I should add that a few years ago when the NUT had a strike I was in the ATL (have since swapped as no ATL rep in school). I went into school and worked on my planning and marking in peace. Myself and the two or three in my department sat in the faculty office and drank copious amounts of tea whilst ploughing through the exercise books that we'd neglected. Was great.
    If I'd stayed at home, I would not have been paid.
     
  9. Thanks for the advice! I'm leaving shortly though to do my PGCE.
    Whilst we're on the subject, anyone care to recommend a teaching union I should join when I get there?
     
  10. Are you on a contract at your school? If you are then you will not lose any pay. My union doesn't strike and their advise is to inform your HT in writing that you are prepared to work. Turn up for work if possible - do not cross a picket line if you feel threatened but let HT know as soon as possible that you are unable to cross it. Any failure to pay me will be treated as a breach of contract. If you are contracted to work( it doesn;t matter if you are in a union or not) and not on strike you should still be paid.

     
  11. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    All of them - they offer free membership to students and you get a goodie bag usually...free highlighters!
     
  12. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Believe it or not, you have a right to not reveal your union affiliations to anybody else, including the union's rep. Obviously if you strike then at some point the rep and the management will find out. If you are non-union you don't have to declare it.

    I found this particularly handy when negotiating with my Head, who was kept completely unaware of how many NASUWT members there were in school during my entire time as rep there. And that was in spite of her sending one of her lackeys to walk past my room when Union meetings were being held in there.

    For clarification, only members of unions who have balloted in favour of a strike can legally withdraw their labour. The rest should turn up for work as normal even if the kids are sent home. Members of other unions should not cover for striking colleagues. This is why non-union staff should simply stay quiet about the fact - why make work for yourself?
     
  13. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Please correct me if I'm wrong but I think NUT are striking but NASUWT not?
    The whole purpose of a strike is a protest, so no-one shoud be covering colleagues classes -it defeats the object.
    In the school where I'm on supply, I believe the school is deciding to send various year groups home. Fewer NUT members, so NASUWT staff will cover only their normal classes & 4 classes will be sent home-including the classes I teach-so no pay that day.
     
  14. This is still a sticking point for me.
    We have a legal responsibility for these children. I can just imagine the uproar if they were left unsupervised. And never mind parents/media/MPs (though I can guarantee the latter two groups at least would make enormous fuss). There are classes I've covered or observed where I come away exhausted from the efforts of getting the kids to act like sensible, civil human beings. And that's a normal day, no excitement of a strike going on. (They're a savvy bunch and know far more than I suspect they ought.) I'd be seriously worried about leaving groups alone.
     
  15. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    Well, I think everyone should join a union to call on in times of employers messing about (bullying, discrimination, illegal working practices and so on) and to try to ensure the best conditions, but working with children puts you in a more vulnerable position as we are open to allegations of child abuse, so would need the specialist advice and support a union can provide.
     
  16. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    They won't be. It's for your HT to find someone to supervise, not asking union colleagues to step in- that means s/he might do it (although IMO that's breaking the strike) or might have to send some or all of the children home.
    The disruption is what makes the strike effective.
     
  17. Sorry, I'm being horribly dense here. So, as a non-union member, I could quite fairly be put on cover. Colleague X, member of a striking union, would be picketing/staying home/whatever but no in school. And Colleague Y, member of a non-striking union, would do his/her own lessons and could cover Colleague Z, a non-striking/non-union member who's on a course/off sick but NOT cover colleague X, the striking colleague?
     
  18. They won't be. Where there is nobody to supervise (here, I would just say teach - why you strike over pensions and not the cover supervisors is beyond me!) classes will be sent home.
     
  19. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Nobody is asked to cover for people who are on strike.
    The classes aren't in school, generally speaking, but if they are, the head has to find someone to cover the class... generally they have to do this themself, though this is of dubious standing.
     
  20. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    The pupils are the head teacher's responsibility.
    No one should cover classes for colleagues on strike.
    If you are a member of NASUWT, you will go to school as normal, but should NOT teach any lessons that would have been taken by a striking colleague from NUT or ATL.
    If you are a cover supervisor, you may cover classes for teachers absent due to illness or courses, but NOT if they are striking.
    Heads will work out whether to close school. In some primary schools they may send certain classes home and keep running with classes that have teachers not in the unions involved.
     

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