Teachers at Holton Primary School in Barry to strike over staff restructuring and reduced lunch break

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Teachers at a primary school in Barry will go on strike in a dispute over “adverse management practices” including a cut to lunch break times and staff restructuring.

Holton Primary School will remain open on Wednesday, December 4 but 16 of the 21 staff will be on strike, the Vale of Glamorgan Council said.

All 16 are members of teaching union the Nasuwt and voted unanimously to strike in a ballot. Further days of strike action are planned for December 18 and January 15, 16, 29, and 30 if the dispute cannot be resolved.

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of the Nasuw t, said members regretted taking strike action but have reported “extremely high levels of work-related stress and anxiety as a result of unrealistic expectations and unreasonable deadlines being imposed on them”.

Mark Morris, Nasuwt national executive member for south east Wales, said the school had cut 10 minutes off the lunch break for staff and pupils without carrying out a statutory consultation.

He said the dispute is also over staff restructuring implemented by head teacher Angela Satterly who took up her post 18 months ago.

The union claims no proper case was made when two new posts were created – assistant head and one more deputy head – to add to the one already in place.

Mr Morris said: “We believe they did not need those posts and the school should have demonstrated the case for them and consulted. This could affect the school’s finances.

“Last year the school had a £54,000 surplus, by March 2019 that was £4,000.

“Previously there was only one deputy, now a second has been appointed although the new assistant head has not yet been appointed.”

He said a survey of members at the school last April found “excessive stress ”, complaints of bullying and feelings of being isolated.

The union said one member of staff recently told it the school was “chaotic, tense and erratic”.

Mr Morris said that when the issues were raised with the local education authority no action was taken.

He said: “They feel the local education authority has been dismissive of their concerns and we have spoken to the Vale Council on their behalf as a union.

“We had talks with (conciliation service) ACAS but they collapsed. The sticking point was that the local education authority refused a request for an independent investigation about their concerns.”

It is understood that during the strike the school will be run by teaching assistants and the five other teachers who are not in the union.

Ms Keates added: “Nasuwt members at Holton regret any disruption this strike action causes to pupils or parents, but they have been left with no choice other than to take this action due to the repeated failure of the employer to take seriously their concerns about the way in which they are being managed.

“The Nasuwt has repeatedly attempted to work with the employer to find a resolution to the dispute, but the concerns of members remain unaddressed.

“We hope that the employer will recognise the need to take its duty of care to its employees seriously so that further strike action can be avoided.”

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Nasuwt has decided to take this course of action when lines of communication remain open. As an Authority, we remain committed to further engagement with the union in an effort to get this matter resolved at the earliest opportunity.”



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