Teachers across Nottingham struck for the third time yesterday, Wednesday, against council plans to rip up their terms and conditions.
The strike was well supported with more than 200 strikers joining a protest.
Nottingham City Council wants to impose a five-term year instead of the current three-term one. This would result in a shorter summer holiday.
Teachers say this will have a negative impact on children—and are worried that it give the council the green light to impose other changes too.
Sheena Wheatley is the secretary of Nottingham City NUT union. She told Socialist Worker, “The council says that children forget what they’ve learned if they have a longer summer holiday. This is a fig leaf they are using to push through their changes.
“The council claims to care about children’s education, yet it has cut 56 youth and play jobs in the last 12 months. Eight-week terms are too long, especially for younger children. They are exhausted after six weeks.
“Children from ethnic minority backgrounds use longer summer holidays to travel abroad and visit family. Shorter holidays would disadvantage them.
“And the services that are available for children during summer holidays will not appear in winter. This is another way of making more cuts.”
The council is imposing other damaging changes. It has brought in a workplace parking levy on schools and expects school workers to pay a charge for parking.
“People are very solid,” said Sheena. “They know we’re in a win/lose situation—there is no compromise. If the council gets the five-term year through it will want to change other conditions.”
The council has threatened to sack teachers by August next year if they don’t agree to the changes. It will then try to re-employ them individually on the new contracts.
The union is set to meet the local authority on Monday of next week. If the council refuses to back down teachers are set to strike again on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
Send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org