Strike at Challney High School for Girls tomorrow

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Trade union members at a Luton school will begin the first of six planned days of strike action tomorrow.

Members of NASUWT will begin the strike on Thursday, November 16, at Challney High School for Girls, due the School’s refusal to pay teachers 2% on the main pay range.

The school will be closed for the day because of the strike.

According to NASUWT, the 2% increase is in line with what the vast majority of schools and academies are paying in the rest of the UK. A spokesman said: “With inflation currently running at 3%, this still amounts to a 1% pay cut.

“Public sector workers have been at the brunt of the Government’s Austerity agenda, and have seen a real term cut in their salary of 15%, amounting to teachers on the top of the scale losing £34,129.33 in wages.”

The School teachers Review Body (STRB) state in their report: “We consider that the state of teacher recruitment and retention requires action this year to begin to make teachers’ earnings more competitive. The priority is to support recruitment and retention teachers in the early stages of their career. When the STRB put forward their recommendations on pay, they took into account the affordability, so therefore NASUWT do not accept the argument that this is unaffordable.

Colin Surrey, National Executive Member for District 18 said: “For teachers who are in their second year of teaching, this amounts to an increase of £4.65 a week before deductions. Not enough to buy two cups of coffee at a well-known establishment”.

“The NASUWT has made every effort to secure an agreed way forward and avoid strike action, but there has been no serious attempt by the employer to address the concerns of teachers.

“The teachers at Challney High School for Girls are all dedicated and committed teachers who always have the best interests of their students at heart.

“They deeply regret any disruption the strike action will cause pupils and parents and hope that the employer will work with them to fully address their concerns so that further strike action can be avoided.”

“The NASUWT remains committed to seeking to resolve the issues under dispute and we sincerely hope that further strike action can be avoided and would implore the employer to discuss our members concerns.”

Challney High School for Girls is part of Chiltern learning Trust, its chief executive Adrian Rogers said: “Unfortunately we have had to make the difficult decision to close Challney High School for Girls due to the planned strike action by NASUWT members today. The union has made the decision to strike against the pay recommendations made by the government and the Secretary of State for Education, which have been adopted by all schools in Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire, including Chiltern Learning Trust schools.

“We apologise for the disruption this has caused to our parents and we will continue to work with NASUWT representatives to prevent further school closures.

“Challney High School for Girls is a rapidly improving school and last summer it was the highest performing school in Bedfordshire for the progress our students made during their time at the school. The Trust is committed to ensuring this continues and that our students receive the best possible education.”

If further action takes place, these will be on Wednesday 22 November, Thursday 23 November, Tuesday 28 November, Wednesday 29 November and Thursday 30 November 2017.