Strike action at Langdon school suspended last week after council agreed to independent survey on workload and oppressive management. Pic © Guy Smallman


Image © Guy Smallman

Details have emerged about intense negotiations between NUT reps and local authority officials in London to try to resolve a bitter, month-long dispute which saw the Labour-run authority bring in dozens of scab supply teachers to try to break the strike.

The dispute began last month over workload and what reps described as “oppressive management” at Langdon school in the borough of Newham.

70 NUT members staged a series of one- to three-day strikes, which escalated after the local council backed the school’s strike-busting tactics by placing the supply teachers on temporary council contracts.

The Newham NUT association voted to call a ballot for borough-wide strike action in response.

The union distributed thousands of leaflets explaining the reasons for the strike to homes in the school catchment area, in response to a publicity campaign by the school administration, which also threatened to withdraw union facility time from the NUT branch secretary for organising a public meeting which was reportedly attended by around 80 parents.

While industrial action continued, NUT reps received proposals from the local authority, which strikers rejected because they felt the offer was too favourable to the head teacher, but a revised offer last week was supported by staff, who voted 59-0 to suspend the strike action.

It has emerged that the offer includes an independent survey on workload and oppressive management, with mechanisms for dealing with workload disputes in future.

In a statement to members at the school, NUT reps said: “Your actions, alongside our own and those of our union, have shown the NUT at our very best.  Our group is transformed.

“We have new members, new strikers, new pickets, new speakers and new organisers.  We have enormous solidarity and complete confidence in one another.  Our morale is high and we have learned many lessons which we will put to good use.

“We are proud to be in the NUT.”

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