School workers in the National Education Union at Harbinger Primary School are taking strike action against a bullying headteacher. We reproduce their statement in full below. Please send messages of solidarity to firstname.lastname@example.org
NEU Members at Harbinger Primary School have voted to take strike action against the unacceptable behaviour of the headteacher. Unless our demands are met, we will strike on Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd May.
We first officially raised our concerns in November 2018, when 18 staff members submitted a collective grievance in the hope of resolving this issue. For the last six months we have repeatedly attempted to use the official complaints process to address our concerns about the leadership of the school and the effect it is having on your child’s education. This approach has got us nowhere. We now feel that our only option is to use the one power we have: to withdraw our labour and appeal to you and the wider Harbinger community to support us in finding a way forward. We love our school and are deeply committed to the children and families we work with. Strike action is our absolute last resort and we sincerely apologise for the disruption this action will cause you, but ask you to stand with us as we fight for a better future for Harbinger.
Our demands are as follows:
• For the headteacher to acknowledge and apologise for unacceptable behaviour
o Shouting at and belittling members of staff
o Making inappropriate comments and speaking inappropriately about individuals to other staff members
o Threatening staff job security
o Unfair discrimination against individuals
• For the headteacher’s behaviour towards specific individuals to be recognised as bullying and policy on this followed
• For the headteacher to commit to positive and professional conduct and interactions with all members of the staff team going forwards
• For the headteacher to agree to an appropriate form of anger management support
• For the headteacher to agree to attend equality and diversity training
• For the establishment of routine check-ins to provide staff with a safe opportunity to feedback to the governors on their experience at work, in the way of an anonymised staff survey such as the NEU stress survey
• That it be recognised that assertions made by the headteacher in the process of the grievance investigation are not honest or accurate and the slanderous comments about individuals officially withdrawn
• An apology to staff and governors from the LEA and an acknowledgment that their handling of our grievance has been disrespectful, negligent and unbalanced and has resulted in staff and governors being unsupported and left to work in extremely stressful conditions
• A commitment that staff will be consulted over changes in the future in a meaningful way
• That the governors, local authority and NEU group agree a process to ensure that the school is being led competently and in accordance with the Headteacher Standards.
On Thursday 23rd May, we will be taking our protest to the Local Authority at Mulberry Place. We would love for you to join us. We will be assembling at the picket line at 9am.
We truly regret your children missing days at school but we hope that by taking this action we will secure the positive leadership that our school and your children deserve.