Teacher's strike - small question...

(80 Posts)
MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 14:54:49

Don't want to get into ins and outs (I agree with it).

Just wondering why we have had letters home from both my kids' schools saying there will probably be a strike on the 17th, but they don't know which classes will be open or not. It sounds like some classes will be open and some closed depending on whether the teacher is striking or not. Do the head teachers not know what unions their teachers are affiliated to? Are the teachers involved just letting the schools know that week or when?

Just wanting to plan really and wondering why the schools don't appear to know what's happening.

Seeline Mon 07-Oct-13 14:57:29

We've just had a letter saying that there was a strike planned, and they would let us know as soon as possible what the implications were hmm
Sometimes we do have some classes in and others off depending on the union membership of the teachers involved, but this pre-letter did seem a bit strange.

YDdraigGoch Mon 07-Oct-13 14:59:01

I suppose a teacher might decide not to strike, even though they belong to the union in question. You'd think they could make their minds up and let the headteacher know though. probably depends on the weather forecast nearer the time

CitrusyOne Mon 07-Oct-13 15:02:31

It's not an easy desision to make, especially for primary teachers - not saying secondary teachers are fundamentally any different, but us primary teachers generally have a closer relationship with the parents and understand the childcare logistics that a srike can cause.

Yes, op, teachers can be in different unions and the head teacher doesn't have to know who's in which one. Additionally, we don't HAVE to inform the head of we wish to strike. So a teacher may be a member of a union that is striking, but choose (for a variety of reasons) not to strike.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 15:03:12

Seeline, we had one letter 2 weeks ago! No updates though. I have 3 in school, and hope they are all off, otherwise it's going to be very hard for 1 to go in, if 2 of them are off.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 15:05:38

Oh, I see, thanks for that Citrussy. So I guess the teachers are still deciding what they will do and some may only decide on the day.

I think the biggest help to parents though (if teachers are concerned...not saying they should be though) would be a maximum amount of notice rather than dithering about till the last minute.

Seeline Mon 07-Oct-13 15:07:31

Merry, we had one a couple of years ago when DDs class was shut and older DS had to go in ON HIS BIRTHDAY. That was really popular grin

CitrusyOne Mon 07-Oct-13 15:42:05

I would be very surprised if they only announced on the day.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 16:38:54

Oh, Seeline, poor thing!

Citrusy, when do you think they'll say or will it vary from school to school?

mrz Mon 07-Oct-13 16:52:40

Heads aren't allowed to ask staff if they plan to strike so rely on staff volunteering the info. Two of the biggest unions are striking but it won't affect staff who are members of other teaching unions.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 18:51:49

Oh wow, ok, I didn't know they couldn't ask. Poor heads! Thanks for clarifying mrz. Are NUT striking?

Littlefish Mon 07-Oct-13 18:53:37

NUT and NASUWT are both striking.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 18:55:11

OK. I know dd's class will be shut then as she has same teacher ds1 had when they last striked (or is struck?) 3 years or so ago, unless she has changed unions. I think it was only NUT last time.

Ihatespiders Mon 07-Oct-13 18:56:51

Teachers don't have to say whether they are striking until the day itself. Most will say, out of professional good standards, but they don't have to.

It's NUT and NASUWT joint action.

chicaguapa Mon 07-Oct-13 19:03:23

DH hasn't decided if he's striking yet or not. He's in the NASUWT. He's not being awkward but genuinely doesn't know what to do.

Littlefish Mon 07-Oct-13 19:40:24

Not every teacher in NUT or NASUWT will be striking. I ended up being the only teacher in my school who went on strike, although about 12 of us were in the striking unions. It is a personal decision so I'm afraid that you will just have to wait and see what information comes out from the school.

keepsmiling12345 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:05:56

My DD's school have advised that if strike goes ahead, the school will be closed. I assume this is because HT is aware of enough teachers' plans to know that, unless strike is called of, sufficient numbers of staff will be striking to mean the school can't open. I am therefore planning for the school being closed whilst looking out for at change of plans from the unions involved.

Lorelai Mon 07-Oct-13 20:07:45

If it wasn't for MN I wouldn't even know there was a strike planned; there has been no communication from our school at all.

mrz Mon 07-Oct-13 20:14:43

The strike isn't national and only applies to certain areas of the country so it depends where you live Lorelai as to whether your school will be involved.

Lorelai Mon 07-Oct-13 21:28:15

South east? I thought this one was affecting us, might be wrong though.

clam Mon 07-Oct-13 21:39:30

" I know dd's class will be shut then as she has same teacher ds1 had when they last striked"

Not necessarily. She might just decide not to strike this time.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 21:43:33

OK, I think I get it now. I thought if your union was striking, you'd have to strike. I think my dsis striked (it sounds so wrong in the past tense) a couple of weeks ago.

I think any teacher that doesn't strike is a bit mad, but hey, I know they don't get paid if they decide to. My feeling is that I will have 1 in school and 2 out. I may have to bet myself a chocolate bar or something.

teacherwith2kids Mon 07-Oct-13 21:52:42

I'm not striking, because I don't think that striking is going to get teachers anywhere at all, in fact I believe that they are playing absolutely into Gove's hands by getting the public's backs up and thus allowing him to look all strong by 'standing up to the unions.

And yes, I did move from the union which didn't strike because it called one for the first time in donkeys' years, to one which didn't strike at that point.

Now I shall leave that one, because it is striking this time, for one that has never gone on strike BUT is slightly less useful as the 'indemnity insurance' which is effectively why all teachers are advised to belong to a union (I would prefer to be wholly un-union affiliated)

tiggytape Mon 07-Oct-13 22:55:29

Belonging to a striking union doesn't mean the teacher will decide to go on strike. Many don't but the Head won't necessarily know that in advance.
It isn't just not getting paid (although that's a big consideration for anyone at the moment) but many are uncomfortable with union membership and union action in general.
Teaching is a particularly vulnerable profession in terms of allegations made against staff and disciplinary problems bullying in the workplace. Union membership offers the support and protection an individual teacher doing the job needs to the extent that teachers are advised union membership is really essential now, however many teachers are not happy about the political extras that come with that.

MerryMarigold Tue 08-Oct-13 11:02:10

Spoke to a teacher 'off the record' at school today and she said she's 99% sure school will be shut, but that's her opinion. That's just the infants though.

I think the teachers should strike. I blame Gove for the strike, not the teachers. They very rarely do this, only in extreme circumstances.

And yes, the union is a collective, to protect teachers, but also a way of teachers having a collective voice. It's a shame if it's just an insurance policy and not a way of having a bigger voice.

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