Industrial action - updated guidance from HR and the DfE

Monday 23rd September 2013

You are probably aware that strikes by the NUT and NASUWT have been called for Tuesday 1 October in Eastern, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside regions.

Find attached the most up to date guidance from the Department of Education:
Advice for handling strike action in schools June 2013 and
Strike Advice - Frequently Asked Questions;

as well as guidance updated by HR in August 2013.

Strike action - salary deductions
Any member of staff who withdraws their labour for the day in pursuance of the stipulated action should have their pay stopped for the day of the action. The School Teachers' Burgundy Book stipulates the amount of the deduction for teachers is 1/365th of their annual salary (this has been confirmed by case law). In the case of support staff, case law supports a deduction of 1/260th. Failure to make a deduction of pay renders the employer liable to challenges that they are appearing to condone industrial action which is in breach of the statutory duty to provide education.

Employees who are not directly involved in the industrial action are not entitled to abstain from work. Where picketing takes place, employees not directly involved in the industrial action may refuse to cross picket lines. Such employees can normally be regarded as being on strike and treated accordingly. Occasionally, however, employees may be willing to cross picket lines but are reluctant to do so for fear of their safety. In such circumstances, the governing body should try and ensure that the employee is given every protection in crossing the picket line. If the governing body considers the employee has made every effort to cross the picket line but was unable to do so, then the governing body should not treat their absence as industrial action.

Strike action - letter to staff
A letter should be sent to staff warning them in advance of the deduction to be made if industrial action takes place and a model letter is enclosed at the end of the HR guidance (annex 2).

It is not advised that any formal disciplinary action is taken or threatened against staff who are striking; such action could be counter-productive in practical and employment-relations terms and, as stated above, deduction of salary is seen as the key and most appropriate response.


Pam Langmead