Here is a statement from NUT rep Pippa Dowswell on the ongoing strike action being taken by staff at Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow.
The strike has arisen because two NUT members, both active in the union, one as the joint college rep with me and the other as the health and safety rep have been dismissed. The NUT officials who have dealt with their cases agree that both dismissals are unfair, involving a lack of willingness by the senior leadership team to give a fair hearing to the point of view of the staff rather than the managers and a lack of support when and where it was needed. In my opinion, working on the ground at the college, these dismissals are part of a broader picture of management incompetence and a campaign against the NUT which started because we organised a vote of no confidence against the Principal when he went forward with an ill advised restructuring in 2011. A culture of fear has developed at the college where middle managers are made to feel that being an NUT member is not compatible with their position in the college and where teaching staff are worried that they could be next to have disciplinary or capability procedures used against them. As the NUT Rep who is often challenging the management, I am constantly looking over my shoulder.
The NUT group at the college have voted for sustained discontinuous action, which means that if our demands for the reinstatement of our 2 colleagues are not met, we will strike again, next time for 2 days.
The management have now agreed to meet with the local and regional reps.