Teachers at 23 independent schools within the Girl’s Day School Trust (GDST) went on strike yesterday.
In South West London, these schools include Putney High School, Sutton High School, Clapham and Streatham, Croydon High School, Kensington Prep School, Wimbledon High School.
Strike action was voted upon as their employers planned to withdraw from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, who was present at at the Streatham and Clapham High School strike, said: ‘Threatening teachers with job losses if they don’t accept bug cuts to their pensions is no way to thank them for their hard work during the pandemic’.
Six days of strike action have been announced, starting from February 10 and finishing on March 3.
The National Education Union have said on their website: ‘NEU members have regarded the Trust as a good employer and they are shocked by the Trust’s threat to issue legal notice to “fire and rehire” them in order to enforce the contractual change.
‘Not only is it a significant pay cut for teachers but would also damage the ability of the schools to recruit and retain quality teachers in the future’.
Strike actions were held across the country, from Newcastle to Cardiff, with strikes including speeches from union officials and MPs.
Strike action also took place outside of GDST HQ in Victoria.
James McAsh, @mcash on Twitter said: ‘An injury to one is an injury to all – don’t mess with our pensions!’
Ian Lvery, MP for Wansbeck, said on Twitter: ‘Solidarity with @NEUnion members striking because @GDST has chosen to remove them from the teachers pension scheme and cut pensions by 20% each year. No worker should put up with cuts to their pensions’.
Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of GDST released a statement on their website saying: ‘Sadly, the increase to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme employer costs has had a severe impact on our expenditure and has put us in a very difficult position.
‘We care deeply about our teachers and would not have put forward these proposals unless we felt they were absolutely necessary to support the long-term sustainability of the GDST family.
‘We are disappointed that the NEU has called for strike action while GDST Trustees are still considering all feedback gathered during the collective consultation process.’