Teachers across Hampshire could take strike action

DEMONSTRATION Teachers striking in Portsmouth last year. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (112348-3)
DEMONSTRATION Teachers striking in Portsmouth last year. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (112348-3)

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SCHOOLS across the area could face disruption as teaching unions announced plans for industrial action.

It comes as teachers continue their dispute with the Secretary of State for Education over pay, pensions, workload and conditions of service and job loss.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) say if no further action is taken, teachers could be driven to take strike action.

It will include a work to rule, not attending school meetings and some extra-curricular activities, not filling in forms or covering for absent staff, and refusing to invigilate on some exams such as GCSEs and SATs.

The unions say this action will be taken in order to avoid too much disruption to pupils and parents.

Sion Reynolds, secretary of the Portsmouth branch of NASUWT, which has around 900 members, said: ‘If any schools refuse to acknowledge the industrial action then that can lead to strike action.

‘We don’t want to take strike action.

‘We don’t take strike action lightly.

‘But we may be forced to if the government continues to attack our professional status.

‘We do a good job in the public service. We need fair credit for the work that we put in.’

The unions say that government policies are undermining teachers’ ability to work effectively to deliver the highest standards of education, as staff are being asked to take on extra duties.

Mr Reynolds added: ‘We are saying that there are things that we won’t do, that we refuse to do such as covering for absent colleagues.

‘We feel that we want to be spending our time teaching our own class as opposed to babysitting for other classes.

‘It’s a work to rule but it’s more than that.’

Headteacher of Isambard Brunel Junior School in North End Iain Gilmour said: ‘Teachers don’t take strike action lightly.

‘They are aware of the disruption it causes. If they feel strike action is the only way forward then something has gone seriously wrong.

‘I hope that academic leaders wouldn’t dismiss that but would listen to what has to be said.

‘If it happens, as a headteacher I will do my best to run the school as best as I can.’

The action will be implemented from September 26.