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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 March 2021

Beal High school strike as management refuse to negotiate over fair sick pay scheme

School staff picket in Hackney. Photo: Rob Williams

School staff picket in Hackney. Photo: Rob Williams   (Click to enlarge)

Beal High school in Redbridge east London faces a six-day shutdown just two weeks after reopening. Members of the National Education Union (NEU) have overwhelmingly voted to strike following the school's refusal to renegotiate a fair sickness pay policy.

Unlike most of Redbridge schools, staff employed after 2016 at Beal High are not entitled to the nationally agreed sick pay scheme for teachers and support staff, and staff who are off sick (even if signed off by a doctor or hospital) are treated the same as workers facing disciplinary action.

Glenn Kelly, National Education Union (NEU) regional officer, said: "How can it be right that a teacher working alongside a colleague doing the same job is entitled to less sick pay? How can it be right that a worker unfortunate enough to become unwell can be treated like they are a bad teacher or one who has done something wrong?"

The first day of strike action is due to take place on the 25 March involving 146 teachers and support workers at the school.

Glenn added: "For three months we have been asking the school management to meet to try and negotiate a fair scheme, and for three months they have ignored us. It appears that they would rather that pupils and parents schooling is disrupted than try to resolve the situation."

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