Steve Scott, NEU national exec and East Riding NEU joint secretary
Members of the National Education Union (NEU) and the NASUWT at Pocklington School stood shoulder to shoulder on the picket line on 22 March. The workers in the East Riding of Yorkshire are fighting against the schools’ decision to withdraw from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
The removal from the pension scheme will leave remuneration worse than local state schools. In order to implement this change, the school has stated it will use ‘fire and rehire’ to change the conditions of staff who are unwilling to sign new contracts.
It is likely that there will be a talent drain, as teachers and leaders are forced to leave to protect their retirement. This has happened in other independent schools which have left the scheme.
Members will not take these imposed changes lying down, and will fight for what they believe is right. The school has values – ‘courage, truth and trust’. But members are left wondering whether the governors’ callous action lives up to any of these.
The unions continue to write to the school, seeking an agreement to come round the table and negotiate. These requests are continually rejected.
Further strike dates have been announced for the 27 and 28 April, and 4 and 5 May. More dates will be announced if meaningful negotiations still have not occurred.