12 Oct 2017
GMB members at Charlton Park Academy School in Greenwich will be following up on two days of strike action in July with a further day on Tuesday 17th October over new imposed sick pay arrangements which leave members on much worse terms and conditions than any other Greenwich school.
The contracts apply to those who have joined the school after it became an Academy. Local MP Matt Pennycook is expected to visit the picket line and he has already shown his support by writing to the headteacher expressing his concern at the impact on staff well-being and welfare.
The strikes have followed two days of talks at ACAS earlier in the summer which proved fruitless. The Teachers Union, NEU (previously NUT), are currently balloting for proposed joint dates with GMB in early November.
Clive Smith, GMB Regional Officer said: “New staff employed at Charlton Park are not only on weaker terms and conditions than staff at any other Greenwich School but also compared to longer serving colleagues at the same school.
“If they are off sick for a couple of months people will have to choose between paying their bills or eating meals. This is an unacceptable way to treat committed staff helping to educate and look after pupils with complex needs.
“The school has quoted vastly inflated figures for the cost of putting this right but has been unable to quantify the genuine financial impact when asked in the talks. GMB is confident that the cost impact on the school would be negligible. Staff only take sick leave when there is genuine need.
“It’s time for Charlton Park Academy to treat their staff with respect and get back round the table to avoid further disruption.”
Contact: Clive Smith GMB Regional Organiser 020 8303 3407 or 07802 958 554
Notes to editors:
1) Charlton Park Academy is a school that supports students with multiple and low incidence special educational needs with residential facilities. The Headteacher is Mark Dale-Emberton. The Chair of Governors is Graham Harknett www.charltonparkacademy.com
2) When the school converted to Academy status currently employed staff were protected under TUPE arrangements. New staff are not protected by Burgundy Book and Green Book conditions and have inferior rights when it comes to entitlements to sick pay. Other rights (such as maternity and redundancy) have not been agreed or negotiated and therefore leave some staff vulnerable.
3) NUT members took industrial action on Tuesday 4 July. NUT and GMB then took joint action on 19 and 20 July 2017.
4) In the new sickness pay policy the school has threatened to remove sick pay rights for those with a mental health illness. NEU and GMB are currently investigating the legal status of such a policy.