NASUWT: Stoke teachers strike over working conditions

Members of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, will hold the first of five days of strike action beginning today (Wednesday 27 February) at the Mount Education Support Centre in Stoke on Trent. The action is in furtherance of the NASUWT’s trade dispute with the Secretary of State, and the failure of the service to respond appropriately to the NASUWT’s national action instructions, particularly in regard to teachers’ appraisals.

Members of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Service (SENDS) are taking action in response to the imposition of a new punitive performance management policy by Stoke on Trent City Council which the NASUWT believes undermines teacher professionalism.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Teachers are not opposed to performance management policies which are professional, supportive and which support them to develop their classroom practice.

“Unfortunately, the policy adopted by Stoke on Trent City Council is punitive rather than supportive, creates considerable additional unnecessary workload and undermines the very professionalism of these teachers who deliver an excellent service to the visually and hearing impaired school students in the city. 
“The NASUWT is committed to an appraisal system where those who manage teachers engage in a professional dialogue with them, respect them as professionals, and make decisions about their work openly and fairly.

“NASUWT members are dedicated and committed professionals who regret enormously having to take strike action but have been left with no other choice.”

Brian Cookson, NASUWT Honorary Treasurer and Union activist in Stoke, said:

“The local authority has so far refused to negotiate changes to the performance management policy that would bring it into line with the previously successful appraisal arrangements. The authority has instead resorted to threatening NASUWT members with pay deductions and disciplinary action.

“In the interests of the whole Stoke on Trent school community, but particularly the pupils who benefit from the enormous support given by these teachers of the visually and hearing impaired, we urge the local authority to commit to positive discussions in the interests of resolving this dispute as quickly as possible.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS
NASUWT members will be picketing outside Stoke Civic Centre from 7.45am until 9am on Wednesday. Contact Heather Stretton, NASUWT Regional Official for the West Midlands, to arrange interviews on 07966 700 280.

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
Campaigns and Communications Team
NASUWT
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk