My college is not one of the 16 going through a balloting process. Why?
The threshold for participation is 50% of members and while the majority who voted have shown overwhelming support for the action, in a number of colleges the proportion of members was not above 50%. Those who were very close have been chosen to be re-balloted.
Are teacher trainees eligible to strike?
Only teacher trainees that are employed by the college are eligible to strike. Even though trainees may have membership with NEU via NQT and teacher trainee offer they may be self funding or employed elsewhere and doing their work placement making them ineligible to take action.
I work in a Sixth Form College within an FE college should NEU FE members cross the picket line?
Only those NEU members balloted to take action can take industrial action. Members not balloted in a distinct area of the college and who are under different terms and conditions are not eligible to join the action.
Can members who joined after the ballot started (or finished) go on strike?
Yes, as long as this is not a significant number (which would suggest an extenuating factor) or an additional ‘group’ of members.
What about if students are taking exams: will they need to cross the picket line?
Union advice in these circumstances is that the strike should go ahead but there should not be a picket line. Our action is to support teachers and learner, not to cause any undue anxiety in what could be a crucial time for learners.
Is there dispensation to support students on strike days?
Specific dispensation to cross picket lines and complete essential work eg support for students during this time can be clarified and advice for any dispensation for support staff should be directed to the relevant regional secretary who will ensure that the correct procedures are followed.
Explain how the dates were chosen for the industrial action?
The dates were chosen by the NEU Executive. They were to signal an ongoing dispute with the SoS on the issue of pay and funding for the SFC sector. The dates set are on different days to offer less disruption to timetabled classes.
Why the union feels it’s important to take the industrial action at this time?
The timing of the action is crucial as NEU has seen how the Sixth Form College sector is suffering institutional fragmentation due to funding pressures (Academinsation; takeover and mergers by and with FE colleges; new college groupings being formed). This has, in turn, put pressure on national contracts, bargaining, and pay. This happened in last year's pay deal with the differentiation of SFC Academies and Sixth Form Colleges. If this fragmentation is not addressed to ensure that funding levels meet the needs of pay parity with teachers in maintained schools and that other action is taken on pay, conditions and employment, then national terms and conditions will begin to weaken and potentially dissolve as has happened in FE.
When will industrial action end!?
When the Secretary of State agrees to fund the pay settlement for 2019/20 and provides for a sustainable funding environment for Sixth Form Colleges.