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where do we stand when asked to cover for striking colleagues?

(14 Posts)
paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Wed 25-Sep-13 22:28:35

Hi - i teach in FE and the staff in my team are in a variety of unions.

At least one of my colleagues is out on strike next month - i have 1.5 hours prep time on the strike day and know that i'll be asked to cover. I don't want to - i agree with the strike and, if my union was out then i would be too. Can i say no?

In my previous department we were in the same union so not sure what happens in this situation.

GetStuffezd Wed 25-Sep-13 22:30:06

I didn't think it was legal to cover for a striking colleague? Willing to be corrected!

Wonderstuff Wed 25-Sep-13 22:36:01

I'm pretty sure they can't ask you to cover, I'm 100% sure you can refuse if they do ask, otherwise there wouldn't be an impact of the withdrawal of labour.

Slavetominidictator Wed 25-Sep-13 22:38:53

I thought the rule was no cover for striking colleagues? My school has always closed for strikes before but open this time for years 11, 12 and 13. Apparently they're asking for heads of dept to cover.

paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Wed 25-Sep-13 22:39:45

Thanks - i know they'll ask. I also know they'll put pressure on and support staff will end up covering. I'm confident about refusing now - although i think it will be a battle.

cricketballs Wed 25-Sep-13 23:24:33

Slave - a number of schools in my LA are stating that they are open to year 11; I have wondered what they are doing to ensure they don't break strike rules that supply can not be brought in/others asked to cover.

Slavetominidictator Wed 25-Sep-13 23:36:07

Cricket, can they use cover supervisors?
This strike seems to be being viewed differently to previous strikes, or maybe that's just at my school. Also, lots of union members just not striking.
Also, my school is providing childcare for years 7s. Obviously attempting to help parents/get them on side.

paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Wed 25-Sep-13 23:37:59

I think its only one teacher in my department so disruption will be minimal - 4 classes for 1.5 hours each. They're year 11+ though so could realistically be sent to the library but I'm sure my manager will try to get them covered (lots of behaviour issues type department so other sections of the college don't like our students in their areas unsupervised)

paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Thu 26-Sep-13 18:28:50

As suspected. One of colleagues lessons has been added to my calendar for strike day. I've deleted it.

cricketballs Thu 26-Sep-13 19:41:11

if cover supervisors are in a union then I think are not allowed to cover (union rules)

Wonderstuff Thu 26-Sep-13 19:51:02

Just checked ATL website - teachers contract states that all 'reasonable' work directed by the headteacher needs to be undertaken. It is unreasonable to ask a teacher not striking to cover for absent colleagues therefore it is legitimate for you to refuse. I presume the FE contract is similar.

clam Thu 26-Sep-13 20:00:51

Every single member of the NUT and NAS/UWT in my school is striking. Without exception.

paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Thu 26-Sep-13 21:39:46

Thanks everyone - i deleted the cover lesson from my outlook diary and am trying to persuade the others who've been asked to stand up for themselves too. Most of my team are in UCU. (although some aren't in a union at all... Which i think is crazy!)

Slavetominidictator Thu 26-Sep-13 23:29:32

Clam, glad to hear your school are taking this seriously. I think mine might have a different view as we've just become an academy and everyone is watching their back.

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