Teachers in the NUT union at Pimlico School, Westminster, have announced three more days of strike action in their ongoing campaign over their lunch break. The strike dates are 3 July, 9 July and 15 July.
The lunch break was cut from 45 minutes to 30 minutes last September. But after teachers took strike action, an agreement was reached to restore it to 45 minutes in June.
Teachers are outraged that, with no consultation, the head teacher did not honour this agreement. A vote to take strike action was won by 72 percent on an 80 percent turnout last month, and teachers held a one-day strike on 18 June.
“The head is on a New Labour anti-union binge,” Padraic Finn, secretary of Westminster NUT told Socialist Worker. “It would have been no skin off her nose to restore the lunch break to 45 minutes.”
Teachers see the attacks on their conditions as linked to plans to close the school and reopen it as an academy in September.
Pimlico School was put in “special measures” after an Ofsted inspection last year. But the school wasn’t failing – it got record results for GCSEs and A-Levels in 2007.
A consultation last summer found that the vast majority of teachers, students and parents opposed the academy plan.
If the academy goes ahead, Westminster council will give a £35 million public building to a private sponsor on a lease of 125 years. And teachers fear that the academy will lead to further attacks on both the quality of education and their working conditions.
Westminster NUT is calling on NUT divisional secretaries from across London, and representatives from other unions, to join the picket line on 3 July to show solidarity. Send messages of support to [email protected]
Members of the NUT union at Norlington School for Boys in Waltham Forest, east London, have voted unanimously for strike action over flexible working hours.
The ballot was held after the school refused to let a mother returning from maternity leave work part time. She was told
to work full time or leave.
The union is calling for a strike on 8 July and another day the following week.