NASUWT: Employers given licence to discriminate

Redundancy, competency and disciplinary procedures are being systematically abused by employers to single out older women, black and minority ethnic, disabled and gay teachers, representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, have heard today.

The Conference, which is being held in Birmingham, has passed a motion calling for greater support for teachers from under-represented groups from discrimination and victimisation in the workplace.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“All the evidence shows that it is women and minority groups in society that are bearing the brunt of the Government’s austerity measures, exposing as nonsense claims that ‘we are all in this together’.

“This Government has declared war on ordinary workers. It is ripping up employment laws and encouraging a culture of macho management.

“As a result, employers feel they have a licence to discriminate. Harassment and victimisation is increasing in schools; competency, disciplinary and redundancy procedures are being misused.

“Talented teachers are having their careers and lives wrecked and children and young people are losing the benefits of their expertise.”



NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Ben Padley 07785 463 119

Notes to editors


The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham from April 6 – 9.

The NASUWT published research in 2011 showing that capability and competence proceedings are being used in some schools to target and discriminate against some teachers on the grounds of their personal characteristics.
The research found that 9% of capability or competence cases dealt with by the NASUWT involve disabled teachers, yet disabled teachers make up just 0.3% of the teaching workforce in the UK.
46% of all capability/competence cases dealt with by the Union involved teachers aged over 50, yet such teachers comprise around 32% of the UK teacher workforce and only 19% of the NASUWT membership.
The full research report can be found at

The full text of the motion that was debated is below.

Kathy Duggan to move,
Graham Dawson to second:
Conference asserts that the ideologically driven agenda of economic austerity represents an assault on the fundamental rights of all workers.
Conference notes with alarm the wealth of evidence which confirms that women, ethnic minorities, disabled and other under-represented groups of workers are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis, as employers are being given licence to discriminate.
Conference is deeply concerned that redundancy selection, competency and disciplinary procedures are being abused systematically by employers and that too many teachers are suffering in silence.
Conference commits the National Executive to continue to:
(i) monitor and report on the evidence of workplace discrimination;
(ii) give priority to the development of appropriate guidance and training for Workplace Representatives and
(iii) educate members on their rights at work.