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Strike hits secondary school

schoolSIR THOMAS PICTON SCHOOL will be closed all day on Tuesday (July 1) as a result of the industrial protest. Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director for Children and Schools, Jake Morgan, released a letter to parents offering no sympathy or support for the strike. He said in the letter:

“The action is in support of a national policy which requires all teachers to be appointed on their current rate of pay when they decide to move jobs. All authorities in the region are of the view that schools need to retain some flexibility about starting pay, particularly in relation to relief teachers. It has not been explained why Sir Thomas Picton has been targeted when other schools have the same policy. No school in Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot or Swansea has decided to take the same action despite the fact that the teachers who go on strike will not be out of pocket as their lost pay will be made good by their trade unions. The Governing Body of STP are meeting on July 9 where concerns will be considered. Given this, it is of great concern to the Authority that children and their families are disadvantaged prior to the governing body even having the opportunity to consider the concerns.”

However, the NAS/UWT responded with the following statement from Executive Member, Neil Butler, who said: “The simple issue is that the Governing Body of STP introduced a pay policy that is unacceptable to us, along with the NUT. Members asked us to take action at STP. There is also action being taken at Welshpool High School, Powys. This is an attack on teachers’ pay and we will take action in any school that has passed this policy.”

Gareth Lloyd, Wales Officer, NUT told the Herald: “It was with great reluctance that the NUT members at Sir Thomas Picton decided, alongside their colleagues in the NASUWT, to take industrial action. We met as trade unions with Jake Morgan, the Head of Sir Thomas Picton and the Chair of Governors today, to try to negotiate an agreement. They put a proposal to us which we put to our members. Following our meetings with our members we put a counter proposal to the authority which they rejected. They feel distressed that the recent letter from the ERW consortia is filled with inaccuracies and did little to help negotiations.”

“Our members feel very strongly about the principle of pay portability. This principle has been adopted in sixteen of the twenty two local authorities across Wales and endorsed by three of the four consortia. Only ERW has rejected the principle of pay portability. In terms of Pembrokeshire, this will mean that teachers applying for vacancies in the county will be offered less than their counterparts in the rest of Wales, for the same post. We are concerned that this will effect the long term education of the pupils. We do not take industrial action lightly but members in a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and the rest of the ERW region have contacted us with concerns over this proposal. Penglais School governors in Ceredigion averted strike action by adopting pay portability without exemption.”

“We are due to meet with Jake Morgan early next week and later that week present our case for pay portability to the full governing body. We are and have been prepared to negotiate with relevant stakeholders”

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Dayne Stone

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