Wednesday, 29 June 2011

H&F Council accused of "intimidating" striking teachers

Our Council has been accused by Union leaders participating in Thursdays strike of attempting to "intimidate" local teachers by writing letters to them urging them not to take part. The Council has even suggested that teachers should make up the time that children will be losing from their education as a result of what they pointedly call a "foreseeable closure", according to the Guardian.

Councillor Helen Binmore, last in the public eye when she pushed through major cuts to the Sure Start service in H&F, has written a letter to teachers. Speaking to the Guardian she said: "We have suggested to the schools that, as the strike is a foreseen closure, they should consider offering their pupils an additional day's education where possible."

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, described Cllr Binmore's letter as a "deliberate move to intimidate" teachers, while her suggestion that teachers should make up the time to their pupils as "completely inaccurate and wrong".

No surprises that a fairly radical Tory council is taking a hard line on Union activity, and that this has prompted an angry response - but it does underline the point that nobody seems to be arguing about the financial impact that this strike is going to have on struggling families.


  1. This blog is growing an oddly fuzzy political stance. I suppose that the phrase "oddly fuzzy" very nearly means "impartial", but I think that "oddly fuzzy" is somehow nearer the mark.

  2. I believe teachers have a real grievance about the threat to their pensions, the first impact of which will kick in next year as H&F teachers face monthly pay cuts of £50 to £100 a month if the Government puts contributions up. Cllr Binmore and many other councillors are Governors and as such are, in effect, the employers of their staff. Maybe they agree with our grievance or maybe they don't - the truth is they have shied away from telling us. Maybe they would support our grievance but not our actions - who knows? All they did was send out a confused and terse letter effectively telling staff who did not strike that they would have to work a day longer and telling staff who did strike (legally) and lost pay that they then had to make it up (and get their pay back??). All in all a fairly pathetic piece of staff management by the Council collectively and councillors individually which did nothing to help understand how to balance the competing demands of children's education, parents' convenience and teachers' pay and pensions.