Kingsway School, Wallasey: Strike called off following appointment of interim head teacher

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) at Kingsway Primary School in Wirral have today agreed to suspend the strike action scheduled for Thursday 10 December, Tuesday 15 December, and Wednesday 16 December.

Prior to the strike being suspended, the NEU was calling on the employer to open a dialogue with its members and consider a resolution proposal that had been put forward to the employer before the notice of strike action was sent to the employer on 17 November.

An enabling agreement was reached this morning after the employer finally contacted the Union and promised to adopt the resolution agreement and start to implement it immediately. The Union agreed to suspend the three days of strike action but reserved the right to strike in the new year if the employer fails to keep its promise of implementing the agreed resolution.

Mr Bora Oktas, regional officer of the NEU, said, “Our members at Kingsway Primary School have suspended strike action as an acknowledgement of good faith that the new headteacher has shown by signing an enabling agreement. The employer should not take our members’ flexibility for granted; unless there is early progress in implementing the terms of resolution document in the coming weeks, our members will reinstate the strike action as planned in January.

“Our members have not only achieved recognition for their concerns for the health and safety of staff and pupils, but also won the support and respect of parents and wider community by their determination to stand up for the rights of teachers and pupils alike.

“We congratulate our Kingsway members on behalf of everyone in the NEU. I take particular pride in the fact that our members, who have worked tirelessly to protect the pupils and vulnerable staff in the school during these difficult times of Covid, have delivered quality education and care for pupils at Kingsway Primary. Now it is up to the employer to do the same and ensure a safe environment for all staff and pupils.”

Ian Harris, NEU Wirral branch secretary, said, “The school have now considered a proposed framework agreement to resolve our industrial dispute. The agreement has been endorsed by the new interim headteacher and it sets out a foundation for a more democratic and safer workplace.”

Peter Middleman, north west regional secretary of the NEU, said, ““It is regrettable that it took the appointment of a new, interim headteacher for our reasonable demands to be taken seriously but we recognise that more progress has been made in the last 48 hours than in the previous six months and we have suspended the strikes planned for December in recognition of the good faith which has been apparent in sensitive discussions since the weekend.

“Our members and the local secretary deserve credit for creating the conditions where meaningful progress now appears possible and have demonstrated great resilience in the face of a stubborn dismissal of their legitimate concerns for far too long. We now urge the Governors and Local Authority to match our good faith in securing a sustainable settlement for the best interests of everyone associated with the school”.