Unite members working for the National Education Union (NEU), the UK’s largest union for teaching and lecturing staff, took strike action this week (July 19) in protest at the ‘salami slicing’ of pay, and terms and conditions.
Unite said that the problems started when the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) joined with the National Union of Teachers to form the National Education Union in September 2017.
The NEU management then embarked on a controversial consultation exercise that would see changes to contracts, downgrading of posts and cuts to pay and conditions.
Numerous attempts to slow down the management’s consultation exercise and requests for more detailed information by the staff unions at the NEU were ignored.
Unite ATL members took strike action for 24 hours from midnight on Thursday (July 19), after they voted by 88 per cent for strike action on the issue of staff restructuring.
“Our loyal and hardworking staff have devoted a substantial amount of their working lives fighting for the interests of the members they represent,” said Unite ATL branch secretary Lisa Crivello.
“Yet we fear the proposed new structures will mean a reduced service for members as staff are being downsized at a time when the membership is growing and the education sector is in crisis,” she added.
“Trade union employers should lead by example and it is particularly ironic that we are working for an organisation that treats its own staff in a way it would never accept for its members.”
Unite national officer Siobhan Endean added, “Many of our members have come through the ranks and are highly loyal to the union and its members. They don’t take industrial action lightly and we call on the NEU management to engage in meaningful talks, and reach a fair and equitable agreement.
“We can’t tolerate this insidious salami slicing of pay, and terms and conditions. More industrial action is on the cards if the management digs in its heels.”
Up to 200 NEU staff, including Unite members, will strike in London and at NEU sites across the UK.