Teachers at London private school take strike action
Teachers at a North London private school have taken strike action and are threatening more disruption if their demands are not met, the Hendon and Finchley Times has reported.
Members of the NASUWT teachers’ union went on strike last Thursday at Mill Hill School, a co-educational school for children aged 13 to 18.
The union is in dispute with the school over paid time off for staff to care for sick children and for key dates of religious observance. Under new proposals, Pay for caring for sick children would be permitted for just two days a year, whereas pay for days of religious observance will only be paid if staff agree to work additional weekend days.
NASUWT’s national executive member for Northwest London Ruth Duncan said: “Despite staff concerns and the lack of a clear benefit to the school of these new policies, the school is refusing to move on these issues. This has exacerbated the anger and frustration of teachers on top of the issues of workload and working hours.
“Teachers at Mill Hill just want to have working conditions that treat them with respect and which enable them to give their best to the pupils they teach.”
NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach added: “The proposals by the school will increase teachers’ workload and will, in our view, have a detrimental impact on the quality of teaching and pastoral care. We have made every effort to seek to negotiate with the employer, but in the absence of any positive moves by the school we have been left with no other option than to begin strike action.
“We appeal to the employer to do what is right for staff and students and agree to work with us to resolve members’ concerns.”
Strike action is also currently planned for five dates in September (7, 12, 19, 20 and 23).
A spokesperson for the Mill Hill School Foundation said: “We have continued to meet with union representatives to seek solutions to this dispute to avoid strike action. While the foundation simply cannot meet the 20% pay increase the unions have demanded, we sincerely believe that the foundation’s pay and conditions are, and will continue to be, among the best in the sector.
“Despite our differences on this issue, we remain fully committed to supporting all of our staff. However, the children in our care will always be our foremost priority. We believe this strike action, when the opportunity for continuing dialogue remains open, is unnecessary and counter-productive to the children’s education and wellbeing.
“Our schools will nonetheless remain open on strike days and we are keeping parents informed of the steps we are taking.”