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Industrial Action

25th January 2023

To: Chairperson, Board of Governors,
 
Re: Discontinuous strike action
 
UTU wrote to members on 7 October 2022 giving notice in accordance with Article 118 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 of industrial action following a lawful ballot of members. We now write to inform you that it is our intention to issue instructions to our membership in all schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, to engage in strike action beginning 12.00 midnight on Wednesday 21st February 2023 and ending at 12 noon on Wednesday 21st February 2023.
 
Furthermore, should the serious concerns of our members not be resolved, UTU reserves the right to engage in further strikes.
 
In our previous correspondence we informed you of the total number of members employed within your organisation. The information provided is as accurate as is reasonably practicable in light of the information in the Union's possession. If there are any inaccuracies, these will have been caused by factors outside of our control, these may include, inter alia, members not informing the Union of changes in their circumstances, despite repeated requests to do so.


1st January 2023

In addition to the continuous phases of Action Short of Strike which began on Monday 17th October 2022 and Tuesday 1st November 2022 respectively, UTU will further instruct members to take the following continuous action as of 8am on 1st January 2023.
 
Phase 3:

  1. Members shall only be directed to attend one formal school meeting of no more than one hour duration per Calendar month.
  2. Members are to teach their teaching hours only, 25 hours per week max in primary and 23.5 hours max in post-primary (or pro-rata if part-time) and should complete Directed Time, outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day, at a time and place of their choosing.
  3. Members are not to attend meetings/events held outside of the outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day. (Including open, prize and parents’ evenings)
  4. All members are reminded not to engage in scribing activities.
  5. Other than fulfilling a teacher’s contractual obligation members are not to meet with or report to parents on an ad hoc basis in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions except in exceptional circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues.
  6. Members are reminded that they cannot be directed to undertake extra-curricular activities
  7. Members are not to carry out requisition of materials or teaching supplies unless specifically allocated appropriate time within their Directed Time Budget.
  8. Principal members are not to write Annual Board of Governor Reports.
  9. Principal members are not to engage with or enact any process associated with redundancy procedures within schools that are as a direct consequence of budgetary constraints, other than category one redundancies
  10. Members are instructed not to participate in training for, or the implementation of, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs, until such time as feedback has been published with regard to the workload associated with this area from Phase 1 schools.

Action Short of Strike: Teachers Actions (combined phases 1, 2 and 3) from January 2023.

Members will:

Rigorously comply with the ‘Jordanstown Agreement’ to include:

  • Limit total hours worked to 32.4 per week.
  • Limit teaching to 25 hours (Primary & Special) and 23.5 (Post Primary) (or pro-rata if Part-Time)
  • Outside of teaching hours, complete non-contact Directed Time (outside of the school’s normal pupil learning day) at a time and place of their choosing.
  • Do not provide cover (including composite classes) outside the 1987/88 Regulations. (Morning and School bus duties should be seen as Health and Safety issues and are therefore exempt from action). (See at Note 2 below)
  • Refuse to accept direction to attend more than one formal school meeting (of no more than one hour duration) per calendar month.
  • Refuse to meet with or report to parents on an ad-hoc basis in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions except when fulfilling a teacher’s contractual obligation, or in exceptional circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues.
  • Refuse to attend meetings/events held outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day. (Including open, prize and parents’ evenings) - unless a local arrangement agreed with unions in the school has been reached prior to 1 January 2023.
  • Refuse to be directed to undertake unremunerated (new or existing) school duties or activities
  • Refuse to be directed to undertake unremunerated (new or existing) extra-curricular voluntary activities (See Note 3 below)
  • Do not participate in training or implementing, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs (until such time as feedback has been published with regard to the workload associated with this area from Phase 1 schools).
  • Boycott, or continue to boycott Key-Stage, cross curricular Assessment arrangements.
  • Do not submit planners or lessons plans.
  • Do not conduct requisition of materials or teaching supplies unless specifically allocated appropriate time within the Directed Time Budget.
  • Do not engage in tasks other than those set out in the Directed Time Budget.
  • Do not engage in new initiatives
  • Do not engage with classroom observation outside of PRSD or EPD.
  • Refuse to conduct routine administrative or clerical tasks
  • Do not complete any part of the School Development Plan
  • Do not co-operate with Governors’ meetings after 5:00pm
  • Do not provide lunchtime supervision (without a separate/secondary remunerated contract)
  • Do not engage with ETI Inspections
  • Do not engage in planning or delivering remote learning, unless included in their Directed Time-Budget
  • Do not cooperate with ‘book-scoops’
  • Refuse to respond to emails, texts, messages, calls etc. outside working hours. Set limits!
  • Do not engage in scribing activities.
  • Do not attend employer-led training (except in respect of legitimate safeguarding)
  • Do not attend Area Learning Community (ALC) or Pathways into Partnership meetings or activities
  • Boycott Consultations (responses or meetings)

 

Note 1 In general, members should, at both system and school level, take due cognisance of any educational or care plan for the young persons in their charge who have special educational needs and ensure they are not negatively impacted as a consequence of this industrial action.

Note 2 The term ‘cover’ refers to any occasion where the Teacher normally responsible for teaching the class is absent and a teaching colleague is required to teach the class. Cover therefore is included within the teaching limit of 25 hours in any week in a primary school or special school and 23.5 hours in any week in a secondary school, as specified under the 1987 Regulations (Schedule 3, Regulation 5, Paragraph 9).

Note 3 Unremunerated and voluntary/extra-curricular activities

  1. “Unremunerated” duties include any duty which you undertake for which you are not paid the ‘going rate’. This includes duties that do, should or used to, attract remuneration by way of a Teaching Allowance.
  2. “Voluntary” activities include extra-curricular work with school teams, music/drama productions and clubs. These voluntary activities have always been ‘voluntary’ but in some cases (and within particular school cultures) are often presented as obligatory. Where any activities have been imposed on a member, then the Action (short of strike action) instructions enable members to withdraw with adequate notice from these activities. The withdrawal of voluntary engagement in activities outside of school sessions has always been the prerogative of the volunteering teacher. Members are free to relinquish these duties or activities and any time (preferably with adequate notice).  Where members have made a professional judgement and have volunteered freely to provide extra support for certain pupils outside school sessions, these can continue.

 

Principals' Actions: Principal members

  • Boycott data provision (outside Annual census or monthly returns).
  • Do not write Annual Board of Governor Reports.
  • Do not engage with or enact any process associated with redundancy procedures within schools that are as a direct consequence of budgetary constraints, other than category one redundancies.
  • Do not forward Governors Minutes to employers.
  • Limit financial plans to one per year only.
  • Do not facilitate any school visits by School Development Services (SDS), except for legitimate safeguarding issues or Formal Intervention.
  • Boycott engagement with School Improvement Professionals (SIPs).
  • Refuse to provide information to employers re: staff participating in lawful industrial action.

 

Principal members should, at both system and school level, take due cognisance of any educational or care plan for the young persons in their charge who have special educational needs and ensure they are not negatively impacted as a consequence of this industrial action.


20/12/2022

ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE

TO BEGIN AT 8AM ON IST JANUARY 2023

PHASE 3

1. Members shall only be directed to attend one formal school meeting of no more than one hour duration per Calendar month.

2. Members are to teach their teaching hours only, 25 hours per week max in primary and 23.5 hours max in post-primary (or pro-rata if part-time) and should complete Directed Time, outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day, at a time and place of their choosing.

3. Members are not to attend meetings/events held outside of the outside school’s normal Pupil learning day. (Including open, prize and parents’ evenings) (If a local arrangement has been reached prior to 1 January agreemnet can be honoured).

4. All members are reminded not to engage in scribing activities. 

5. Other than fulfilling a teacher’s contractual obligation members are not to meet with or report to parents on an ad hoc basis in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions except in exceptional circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues.

6. Members are reminded that they cannot be directed to undertake extra-curricular activities

7. Members are not to carry out requisition of materials or teaching supplies unless specifically allocated appropriate time within their Directed Time Budget.

8. Principal members are not to write Annual Board of Governor Reports.

9. Principal members are not to engage with or enact any process associated with redundancy procedures within schools that are as a direct consequence of budgetary constraints, other than category one redundancies

10. Members are instructed not to participate in training for, or the implementation of, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs, until such time as feedback has been published with regard to the workload associated with this area from Phase 1 schools.


25/10/2022

Action Short of Strike Action – Phase 2

1. Members are to teach their teaching hours only, 25 hours per week max in primary and 23.5 hours max in post-primary (or pro-rata if part-time) - and should undertake to prepare, plan and assess for their pupils at a place of their choosing. (School bus duties are exempt from action).

2. Members are not to complete lunchtime supervision unless they have voluntarily entered a separate or ‘secondary’ contract of employment for this activity.

3. All members are not to engage with Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) inspections, other than for legitimate matters of safeguarding or if the school is in the Formal Intervention Process.

4. All members are not to provide remote learning unless time has been made available through the DTB for the purpose and approved by the TNC.

5. All members are not to co-operate with the scrutiny by other staff of pupils’ books, nor conduct scrutiny of the books of pupils of other staff colleagues.

6. All members are not to respond to emails/telephone calls/online learning platform messages before 9.00 am and after 3.00 pm or during the lunch break, save for legitimate matters of safeguarding and child protection.

7. All members are not to attend training events or meetings convened by employing authorities, save for legitimate safeguarding training.

8. All members are not to attend Area Learning Community (ALC) meetings or participate in the Pathways into Partnership initiative.

9. All members are not to respond to, or facilitate, consultations initiated by employing authorities and any other arms’ length bodies unless requested to do so by their trade union.

10. Principals produce one financial plan per year only after final school budget has been allocated which is not to be shared with employing authority, D.E. or associated ALBs. Plans should only reflect the year immediately following date of allocation. Until such times as a three-year budget is produced for schools, principals should limit any school development planning to one year.

11. Principal members are not to facilitate school visits by School Development Services (SDS), save for on legitimate safeguarding issues or if the school is in Formal Intervention.

12. Principal members are not to engage with School Improvement Professionals (SIPs), apart from at their request and associated only with urgent school-based needs.

13. Principal members will refuse to provide information to employers regarding staff participating in lawful industrial action.

 

 

 


10/10/2022

Members of all teaching unions in Northern Ireland have overwhelmingly voted in huge numbers to begin industrial action in support of our claim for a fair and just pay rise.

As a traditionally non-striking Teaching union, UTU members have voted for strike action for the first time in UTU's 103 year history.  

UTU members will shortly commence on a coordinated campaign of industrial action short of strike alongside their fellow trade unionists from the other teaching unions. The action will be phased, in the hope that the employing bodies and the Department of Education [DE] will take a common-sense approach and avail of the opportunity to bring forward a realistic pay offer that recognises the worth and value of teachers and takes account of the dire cost of living crisis all working people are experiencing (more details below).

UTU's General Secretary,  Jacquie White, advises:

“We are sending a message to the Department of Education and indeed to Westminster, that teachers have got to the point where they need to be valued, they need to be recognised and they need to be appreciated as a profession.”

We have now notified the education employers of the outcome of our industrial action ballot (Action short of Strike Ballot).

Our action is in response to:

  • Failure to protect teachers from the devaluation of their profession
  • Failure to protect teachers from cost-of-living increases
  • Failure to protect teachers’ professional integrity

Our industrial action will be coordinated with our colleagues in the other unions that make up the NITC.

We have already advised the employing authorities that our joint industrial action will be ‘phased’ with Phase One up until mid-term, Phase Two up to Christmas break, and Phase Three in the New Year.

 

Phase One (with escalation thereafter) will focus on:

  • Boycott Assessment arrangements
  • No submission of planners or lessons plans
  • No tasks other than those set out in the Directed Time Budget
  • Meeting limit of one per week of one hour duration (max)
  • No engagement in new initiatives
  • Undertake no unremunerated duties (new or existing)
  • No classroom observation outside of PRSD or EPD
  • Rigorous compliance with Jordanstown Agreement – no cover (including composite classes) outside the 1987/88 Regulations
  • No routine administrative or clerical tasks
  • Principals data boycott (outside Annual census or monthly returns)
  • Principals not to forward Governors Minutes to employers
  • Members are not to complete any part of the School Development Plan
  • No co-operation with Governors’ meetings after 5:00pm

 

Further, more detailed guidance will be issued to our workplace reps and members in the coming days.

If any UTU members have any concerns please get in contact with us on office@utu.edu

 


UTU BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION 
LETTER FROM YOUR PRESIDENT 


Colleagues 
The UTU Ballot for industrial action opens today, Monday 12th September, and will close at noon on Monday 3rd October. 
Information will be sent to all members throughout the coming days but, as School Representative, we felt it was important that you would have some guidance from your Central Executive Committee to enable you to answer questions from members in your school. 
We are enclosing a school list of membership for your information. This is for your information only; management in the school are not permitted to ask for detail or names. 
We have also sent a poster for display in the staffroom to encourage members to vote and have their voices heard.  

MESSAGE FROM YOUR CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 
The CEC met on Friday and discussed fully the recommendations it would make to members moving forward in this process. Further information as to how it reached this conclusion is included below and we would encourage you to read, consider and discuss with the membership. 
The recommendation was unanimous. 

Strike action – Yes 
UTU, as you will know, is a union which normally does not move to strike. 
This is known by our members – but also by our employers. 
It is therefore the position of CEC that if UTU return a mandate to strike – in other words, vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action – that this will send the strongest possible message to employers that resolution of the pay situation is necessary. 
It would still be the position of CEC that strike action would be a last possible resort and we would be working hard on your behalf to reach resolution before it would become necessary. 

We must also consider that, as we will be working closely with our colleagues in other teaching unions, UTU does not want to be in a position where others take action and we will not be standing shoulder to shoulder with them. 

Action short of strike – Yes 
Members have taken action short of strike before and CEC recommends that you vote to do so again. 
It is the intention that such action: 

  • will be closely coordinated with that being taken by our colleagues in other unions and allow teachers and school leaders to act together
  • will be outward-facing – aimed at the system and not the children.

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION 
If you need any further clarification or just want a query addressed/discussed, please:

  • Contact Joseph at joseph.wyglendacz@utu.edu for a school visit
  • Join one of the upcoming lunchtime zoom meetings
  •  Ask your local Executive member who will contact you in the coming days
  • Contact HQ at office@utu.edu and I will get back to you

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD 

Thank you for your support. 

Louise Creelman
UTU President


 

YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE, YOUR FUTURE POSTER: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

 

 

LEIGH MCKAY – NORTH EASTERN AREA ASSOCIATION AND CEC

 

 

YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE, YOUR FUTURE  - A MESSAGE FROM UTU PRESIDENT

 


 

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