Friday 22 March 2013

Alec Reed Academy strike success

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Unions and governors at Alec Reed Academy (ARA) in Northolt, Ealing
have reached a working agreement after ACAS talks on Tuesday 19 March.

From a position where on 31 January we were being told that the
employer would never talk to unions, and that our action campaign was
unlawful, we now have an explicit guarantee that ARA recognises union
action as legal and legitimate, that it will not interrogate or
challenge staff about their participation in such action, and will
negotiate with staff unions if any form of management pressure is
applied over the action.

This applies to both action-short-of-strike-action as well as strikes.We have a commitment to review ARA’s Appraisal policy, especially its notorious ‘Support Programme’, as well as a detailed workload assessment on a range of current practices.The employer remains nervous about formal recognition of unions for collective bargaining purposes, but has committed to “ensure positive future industrial relations and will give the Unions the opportunity to be informed and consulted with regard to their members’ terms and conditions of employment.”Members are jubilant – but also realistic about this outcome.They thank all those that have sent messages of support which helped boost morale.

They are also thankful for the focussed work put in by all levels of the NUT, which combined to radically alter the power balance at this school.

We also recognise the honourable commitment of NASUWT members and officers at all levels to a joint approach during this dispute.

Many current and past members of staff are delighted that the ARA Principal is leaving by Easter, which we believe is no coincidence.

Union members at her new post in south London will be fully appraised of her bootcamp methods!
This is a clear vindication of strike action.
It was categorically the three days of strikes with a threat of three more that brought
ARA’s governors to see some pragmatic sense.Positive parental and media support was crucial as well.There is much still to be done however to get this school working normally.Members report, as just one other symptom of a wholly unaccountable and dysfunctional regime, a culture of inter-student racial violence which has gone unchecked or swept under the carpet of management vanity.
This dispute is emblematic of everything that the Anti-Academies Alliance predicted
at its inception about the dire consequences of handing over publicly-funded services
to private managers, with the concomitant decline in standards of governance.
ARA is one of the original 7 UK Academies founded in 2003.  Ten years later this school’s retention as an Academy remains a public scandal. Yet politicians refuse to acknowledge this!
It is a plaything of Tory donor and employment agency millionaire Alec Reed, whose governing body is stuffed with his family and employees.
His ownership of a community school is about company PR kudos and getting personally ennobled.
It is not, repeat not, about quality educational services.
Nick Grant
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