Leicester District
National Education Union

21st November 2018

Strike Threat Over Head's Culture of Bullying at Abbey Primary

In August 2017 a new head teacher was appointed at Abbey Primary School. By the October half term, Leicester NUT officers had more than six pieces of casework and other staff concerns which were subsequently raised with the LA. Leicester NUT Officers supported members through their concerns, stresses, a disciplinary case, and a collective grievance against the head. After meetings with the head, governors and LA, nothing changed, and so an indicative ballot for action was held in June 2018. The dispute centred around:

a culture of bullying by the Headteacher, causing high levels of stress;
failure to produce a directed time budget/school calendar;
excessive workload including unreasonable deadlines for data requests and report writing.

All the NUT/NEU members voted for an official strike ballot. Because of the Trade Union laws and the summer holiday, members were re balloted, with the official, formal ballot resulting in 100 per cent of members voting for action on an 80 per cent turnout.

Notice was given that members would be taking strike action on Tuesday 30 October and Thursday 1 November, but this was called off as the head resigned with immediate effect on 17 October.

The members at Abbey have been very strong in an extremely difficult climate and demonstrated that they are the union and there is power in collective action. Our next fight is to prevent the school becoming an academy - watch this space!