NASUWT negotiators expected to take part in talks later today in an effort to prevent second wave of strike action

Tim Lezard

NUT NASUWT joint logoNASUWT negotiators are expected to take part in talks later today in an effort to prevent a second wave of strike action at special needs schools in Stoke on Trent.

Teachers took two days of action last week in a dispute over what the union says is a “punitive” system of performance management being imposed by the city’s education authority.

NASUWT national officer Brian Cookson told UnionNews: “The teachers don’t want to be taking strike action, it’s totally anathema to them to be in this position.

“But this performance management system will cause them extra workload for no good reason whatsoever.”

A further three days of strike action is already scheduled if today’s talks fail to secure a resolution.

Union negotiators say the the teachers are happy to work under a system of regular appraisals, but that the council is seeking to tie teachers’ performance to possible disciplinary action if they do not reach certain fixed standards.

Critics describe it as a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over teachers in the special needs service.

Says Brian Cookson: “I would hope that we could resolve this issue and that we don’t have to take more strike action.

“Quite clearly, we did try to do everything possible to resolve it before the strike. It failed then, but I hope that we do not fail now because our members do not want to be taking strike action.”

You can hear the full interview with Brian Cookson in a special edition of The Active Voice podcast later today, examining the misuse of performance management and how trade unions can resist it.

Follow us on Twitter @UnionNewsUK for updates.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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