Schools hit by strike action
The National Education Union is holding a second day of strikes at Priory School Lewes, Uckfield Community Technology College, St Catherine's College Eastbourne, Peacehaven Community School and Seaford Head School tomorrow (Thursday May 3).
The union says that despite now having saved enough money by not paying teachers on the first strike day to settle the claim the schools are still not agreeing to pay the 2 per cent recommended by the National School Teachers Pay Review body to lower paid teachers.
Phil Clarke, secretary of the Lewes Eastbourne and Wealden National Education Union said, “Not only are teachers being underpaid in East Sussex we have now got a situation where none of the schools faced with industrial action can claim they cannot afford to pay as they have already saved more money than it costs. It is incredibly disappointing this still remains unresolved when it is so simple for the schools to agree and have the strikes called off.
“Currently 19 schools in East Sussex have decided to pay the proper rates and this list is growing each day. We maintain that while schools are grossly underfunded not applying the national pay rise for teachers will just create a race to the bottom for our wages. Across the county that the rise we are asking for is affordable and it will not have any significant impact on budgets.”
Paul McLaughlin, the union’s south east regional secretary, said, “East Sussex County Council has very disappointingly not taken any steps to try and resolve this dispute. We implore the schools directly faced with strike action not to make it a point of principle to refuse to pay National Pay recommendations. A growing number of schools in the county have decided they can and should pay and therefore these schools will not be part of further industrial action which is now set to spread across the county.”
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “While we understand teachers have concerns over pay, we are disappointed the National Education Union has decided to resort to industrial action. The education of our children should be an absolute priority and nothing should disrupt that. We have worked with the schools affected, advising and supporting them in planning for the industrial action.
“East Sussex County Council does not decide the annual increase in teachers’ pay. We consult annually with schools on a model pay policy for ESCC maintained schools, based on information from the Department for Education. It is the responsibility of each governing body to decide whether to adopt the model pay policy or consult with their staff and adopt their own version within the national pay framework published in the DfE’s School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.”