20th Oct, 2017

Strike by teachers at Coventry's Blue Coat school suspended for talks

Les Reid 10th Sep, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

STRIKING teachers at a Coventry school have called off today’s action to allow negotiations over terms and conditions.

The National Union of Teachers was scheduled to take a second day of strike action at Blue Coat School, Terry Road, Stoke, Coventry, today –  September 10 – unless the dispute could be resolved.

About 30 teachers joined a picket line outside the school last Thursday in its first week of term.

A statement by Coventry NUT reads: “As a result of meetings with school management, NUT members at Blue Coat school have agreed to suspend Thursday’s planned strike action.

“We are hopeful that we can now move positively toward a negotiated agreement with school management.”

Members of other unions were also urged to support teacher colleagues in not carrying out duties last Thursday, when the school urged pupils to come is as normal.

Teachers say they are unhappy about the school seeking to impose changes to working practices and policies, and terms and conditions, without properly consulting them.

They include pay related policies, performance management, grievance and disciplinary policies which union members say were suddenly posted on the school’s website with no consultation with union representatives – despite union recognition at the school.

Jane Nellist, joint secretary of Coventry NUT, said last week: “It’s a crazy situation to end up in.

“There’s a simple solution.

“Management need to go back to the policies that operated when the school became an academy and, if they want to make changes, seek a proper consultation with the union.”

The NUT says the policies were “detrimental to the employment rights of staff” and were imposed by the previous head teacher, Dr Julie Roberts.

NUT members were set to take strike action in March when Dr Roberts left the school and the governing body was dissolved.

The union said that, despite initial indications from the chair of the interim governing body that the policies would “be reversed”, no progress had been made last week, and the current Interim head teacher had refused to meet with union representatives.

The school claimed last week it was trying to work with the union to find a resolution, and sought a good working relationship with the union.

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