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Useless NEU

Discussion in 'US – Staffroom' started by banoffeepie11, Nov 1, 2019.


How you ever felt let down by the union?

  1. Yes, totally. They do not support individual members effectively.

    6 vote(s)
  2. Yes, a little.

    1 vote(s)
  3. No, I've never needed their help.

    4 vote(s)
  4. No, they were amazing.

    3 vote(s)
  5. The union want you to support them with subs and marches. They support 'all members' not individual

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. banoffeepie11

    banoffeepie11 New commenter

    Have any other teachers union members found the union to be actually unhelpful when in need of their help for discrimination. I have a hearing disability, severe tinnitus and associated depression and anxiety that I have never been able to get recognised or support for. Any of the negative impacts it has had on my mental health has been passed off as my inadequacy as a teacher.
    I was discriminated against in a previous school and actually ended up being forced out with a settlement and a dodgy reference rather than been able to fight the discrimination. A 'reading between the lines' message that I was a racist was allowed to stay in the reference even though I fought for its removal for 4 months. The rep could not get it removed and keeped downplaying its meaning rather than take any further steps. The first experience not having the necessary support from the union.

    That problem followed me into my next school and continued problems for me, especially as I was told by old colleagues that the person who set out to get me from the previous school contacted my new school when asked for the reference and told them I was a 'racist'. It's only a couple of months after the fact that I began to find this out.

    I had made contacted with my new union rep when I started feeling like I was being picked on at my new school and keeping a record of incidents but yet again the union began to let me down.

    The actually issues and problems could not be addressed or pinned down for what they were. This school was able to turn things around and start putting the pressure on me with delays, 3 O.H reports, meetings, suspensions, miscalculated my sick pay and investigations for the next two years in order to get me to return on the conditions they wanted or just give up and leave.

    And instead of getting support to take on from union and seeing the bigger picture of what was happening, they have constantly acting as if the school might be have a point, the abuse was getting ignored and each new problem being handled badly.

    Finally, when I got a regional rep to look at my case, instead of support putting an end to abuse, I was expected to re-engage with the school again and see if a return to work to be arranged. I was been pressurized by the rep to be realistic and made aware that the school could just not take me back. She was in now way acting like I had a case or had faced any problems. She never interacted with me like a had a disability or was under any stress. She never asked how I was managing financially, not having been paid since November 2018.

    Finally I told the rep I would not be returning and wanted to go to tribunal. The rep ended up telling me two days before going on her holidays for 2 weeks that it was too late to go to tribunal and I should take a settlement. The only thing that mattered to her was that I sign a form freeing her of any responsibility. And that this should be signed even before the settlement was negotiated. However, expecting this to happen I independently made the application under advice for the C.A.B.

    The latest upshot is that the school via there legal team will be fighting this but I have been refused legal support via the union as I had not followed union advice and besides my case did not merit legal support and was probably out of time.

    Has anyone else experienced something like this and felt like a mug for paying £20+ a month for well over a decade to an organisation that actually will do all in there power not to upset the working relationship the union has with schools for the sake of individual members. The whole time I was going through this a colleague who used to be a schools rep was advising me that no matter what happened the union would want a 'backroom deal' and put the pressure on me to leave if they could not get the school to play ball.

    I am now going to have to take the union on legally as well as my employer, and I am still paying my subs from the benefits I am now claiming.
  2. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    The whole situation with teaching unions in this country is extremely precarious.

    Having been a union rep. I can say two things: firstly that the unions are only as strong as their members. If teachers don't support their unions they are weak or disappear completely. This is what most Tory governments would like to see.Secondly, if teachers are not actively involved in their unions then you have to take the union officers that you get. Most strong/capable teachers will go up the ranks into SLT. Very few get involved in the union. That has implications.

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