School support staff in the Unison union and teachers in the NUT union at Hayward and Withins schools in Bolton struck on Tuesday of this week against plans to transfer their employment to an academy and the failure to consult them.
In the first ever joint strike by NUT and Unison members, 30 pickets sealed off the Hayward school. This followed two previous strikes by NUT members at Withins school and a pupil walkout.
Notice of closure of the Hayward had been issued with unprecedented speed following the Withins action, but not before NUT and Unison members had voted overwhelmingly to strike together. The NUT is now mounting a legal challenge against Bolton local education authority.
In the meantime a flurry of “consultations”, meetings with sponsors, lawyers, consultants, and authority officials have taken place to “reassure” workers that all will be well, conditions guaranteed, trade union rights respected.
So why, we wonder, has there to be an Academy if there is to be no change. “If the sponsors are so keen on giving something to the community supporting educational achievement”, said one picket “why don’t they just give us £2 million and have done with it. We’ll even put a plaque up for them.”