Strike or not? Will 1 teacher make any difference?

(19 Posts)
mumnosbest Mon 23-Sep-13 09:29:50

I don't want to get into the politics of striking, there's been enough of that and everyone's entitled to their own view points.

I, personally, have always striked and would like to next week too but... I work in a school where nobody else will be striking next week. Last time myself and one other temporary teacher went on strike and apart from upsetting a lot of parents, I don't think we made any difference. This year it would be just me. We have a new head (I don't want to get on his bad side already) and like most money is tight and getting tighter (DH is soon leaving). My school have also called today to ask if I will be striking as they want to let parents know if my class will be off that day. I know that I don't have to tell them but feel I should.

After that ramble I guess my question is, Will it really make any difference whether I strike or not?

tywysogesgymraeg Mon 23-Sep-13 09:31:52

I am against striking (I prefer negotiation), but...

If everyone took the attitude you suggest (will one teacher make any difference), there would be no strike. The whole point of a strike is to cause inconvenience to others by witholding your services, isn't it? Otherwise, what's the point in striking?

mumnosbest Mon 23-Sep-13 09:38:31

Think we'd all prefer negotiation.

I know what you are saying but I don't think my not being there would be all that inconvenient, except to a few parents. All I think will happen is that I'll spoil my relationship with parents, upset the head and loose a days pay for my efforts.

tywysogesgymraeg Mon 23-Sep-13 12:30:07

But that's what strikes are all about! It just so happens that you're currently the only one in your school who's part of the union.
There wouldn't be much point to a strike if no-one noticed or minded, or if you didn't cause inconvenience.

If you feel strongly about the issue the union is calling a strike over, then you should show solidarity with the rest of the members, and not work. Otherwise, it's immoral to take the benefits they win by going on strike. There are a couple of not very nice words for people who cross the picket line (and there doesn't have to be an actual picket line) - "blackleg" and "scab" come to mind.

Is the strike well supported?

(I can't believe I'm actually urging someone to strike!!!)

VioletHunter Mon 23-Sep-13 15:27:50

I would strike. If I was ever in a difficult situation I would expect my union's help. Striking when they ask me to is only fair in return.

CaptainSweatPants Mon 23-Sep-13 15:31:37

I would strike
Sit at home with a cuppa and feel smug that at least you've done something, you have done your bit

mumnosbest Mon 23-Sep-13 16:54:18

like the idea of sitting at home with a cuppa. There are quite a lot all in the same union but they've chosen not to strike regardless.

mercibucket Mon 23-Sep-13 18:16:16

the whole point of a union is to stick together
i bet some of your colleagues never even voted!
really, yes, you should strike

Hulababy Mon 23-Sep-13 18:22:35

Only 2 out of 9 classes at my school will be open next week. One teacher and one supply teacher re not in the striking unions, so they will be in and there classes will be open as usual. Not sure how many children will attend - many have siblings in other classes, which are off, and several with children in the nearest junior school - who again has only 2 classes, out of 12, open that day.

At my school every teacher in the striking unions are not coming in. They informed the hHT last week of their intentions so that parents could be informed as soon as possible.

Tinlegs Mon 23-Sep-13 18:24:36

Say you will not be striking but will, instead, spend the same number of hours writing letters. Then write to your MP,Council etc listing all the reasons why you are angry. That sort of thing often has a greater effect.

Littlefish Tue 24-Sep-13 22:23:07

I work in a school of 14 teachers. 1 is ATL, the rest are NUT or NASUWT. Not one of my colleagues is striking! They are all saying that they can't afford to lose a day's pay. So, it would seem that I'm the only person even considering it.

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 09:50:12

whether you strike is up to you but it is supposed to be about collective action isn't it? And yes, if everyone thought just them wouldn't make any difference, no one would strike.

It's supposed to be inconvenient to the public that's why unions organise strike action. It's always tricky in public sector, police (who are no longer able to), nurses, fire, teachers but hat's why it's an action of last resort. And as it's been voted on, the majority of members believe it's the only way forward.

If you don't want to strike then perhaps you should find a trade union that better reflects your personal values. I fully understand it's difficult to lose the day's pay but the long term principle on pensions is the issue.

ATL isn't striking so I will be going in and will feel a heel...

Littlefish Wed 25-Sep-13 11:55:56

I absolutely agree with you overthemill and have made the decision to strike. I suppose I'm disappointed that my colleagues don't feel the same about collective action as I do. They would all be very quick to contact their union if they had a contractual problem, so want to be able to use the collective weight to support them, without supporting the union stance on this issue. sad

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 12:09:22

littlefish i agree! I get very miffed with people who won't strike or do the other inconvenient thing that have been voted on but are happy to receive the benefits of the collective bargaining eg holidays, equal pay, pensions, employment rights etc etc. all the stuff we striked (?) for in the 70s and 80s and those who came before us too

oh well, it was always this way. But it has to be on personal conscience doesn't it?

Littlefish Wed 25-Sep-13 12:30:14

I did wonder if it's because many of them are younger than me (by over 20 years in some cases!), which means they have no memory of any previous industrial action in teaching, or other professions.

We have had long conversations about strike/striked/struck etc! grin

ginny1970 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:43:03

Googled 'What if I'm the only person striking at my school" and found this discussion so making my debut on a forum! So, I too face the prospect of being the only one on strike at my (large) primary school. During the last strikes I was on maternity leave. We do not have a rep and the NUT division support officer has offered to come into school but when I raise the subject with any colleagues it's all rather awkward as if 'union' and 'strike' are forbidden words where I work! I have questioned whether there is anything to be gained from striking: I lose a day's pay, reduce my standing in the eyes of cetain other members of staff and because my absence is highly likely to be covered in some way the parents probably won't even know or care! Then I asked myself the question " What if I worked at a school where others were striking, would I strike?" and the answer is a resounding "YES!" So, it's going to be hard but I feel I must do what I feel is the right thing and hopefully others may follow my example. This may be wishful thinking though as fear combined with apathy is a powerful combination at my workplace!

Littlefish Thu 03-Oct-13 20:57:28

Ginny - I was the only person who went on strike, so mine was the only class that was closed. My Headteacher was incredibly supportive of my stance and I didn't receive any negative comments from colleagues or parents. In fact, several parents came to see me to let me know they agreed with the strike, and disagreed with the government's actions.

ginny1970 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:41:17

Littlefish-you are very lucky to have a supportive head!

Grockle Fri 04-Oct-13 19:13:43

I'm really torn on this. I said I'm not striking - senior management have been badgering us to commit one way or another so I said no. BUt I should be & I did last time.

DS's school won't say if they are closed til 8.30 on the day angry I know teachers don't have to let their school know but I don't believe that none of them know yet. If DS's school is closed, I can't go to work. Except I start work at 8. Don't know what to do.

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