GMB and Unite members on strike at the NEU
GMB and Unite members working for the NEU are today on strike over the ‘salami slicing’ of pay, and terms and conditions.
Unite said that the problems started when the ATL joined with the NUT to form the NEU in September 2017. The NEU management then embarked on a controversial consultation exercise that would see changes to contracts, downgrading of posts and cuts to pay and conditions.
Numerous attempts to slow down the management’s consultation exercise and requests for more detailed information by the staff unions at the NEU were ignored. Unite ATL members voted 88% for strike action on the issue of staff restructuring.
Unite ATL branch secretary Lisa Crivello said: “Our loyal and hardworking staff have devoted a substantial amount of their working lives fighting for the interests of the members they represent.
“Yet we fear the proposed new structures will mean a reduced service for members as staff are being downsized at a time when the membership is growing and the education sector is in crisis.
“Trade union employers should lead by example and it is particularly ironic that we are working for an organisation that treats its own staff in a way it would never accept for its members.”
Unite national officer Siobhan Endean said: “Many of our members have come through the ranks and are highly loyal to the union and its members. They don’t take industrial action lightly and we call on the NEU management to engage in meaningful talks, and reach a fair and equitable agreement.
“We can’t tolerate this insidious salami slicing of pay, and terms and conditions. More industrial action is on the cards if the management digs in its heels.”
GMB branch secretary Jill Stokoe said: “We have done everything we can to get management to see sense, but they are forging ahead with their plans to downsize the full time staff of the union at a time when the membership base is growing and the education sector is in crisis.
“NEU members need and deserve a fully skilled and well-motivated support service from their union more than ever before.
“These plans have already impacted on our members’ morale and staff are angry; that is why they have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.”
GMB regional organiser Helen Purcell said: “This is a phenomenal result that demonstrates our members’ strength of feeling. People who work for trade unions do not enter lightly into industrial action and always hope that they can resolve issues before they get to this stage.
“Many of the staff have come through the ranks and have a real sense of loyalty to the union and its members so will feel torn about taking action.
“It is truly disappointing that we have to enter into dispute, but I am hopeful that NEU management will further engage in a meaningful manner and an agreement will be reached.”
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