You will have no doubt heard about the scheduled teach strikes across England and Wales. On 16 January the National Education Union (NEU), one of the trade unions representing the teaching profession, announced its intention to strike. Below, Laura Callahan outlines the planned union action and the potential impact it may cause.
NEU strike dates
- Wednesday 1 February 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
- Tuesday 14 February 2023: all eligible members in Wales.
- Tuesday 28 February 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: Northern, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber.
- Wednesday 1 March 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern
- Thursday 2 March 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: London, South East, South West.
- Wednesday 15 March 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
- Thursday 16 March 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
Potential impact to schools
Each school will only be affected by up to four of these dates, and not the full seven. In some schools there may be little or no impact from strike action but in others it may mean that changes are made to the way they operate.
We are expecting schools to provide some childcare cover, but depending on the profile of your workforce and the number of primary caregivers to school-age children, your business operation may still be affected.
Potential impact to parents/care givers
Reasonable steps will be taken by local schools and authorities to keep schools open for as many pupils as possible with the aim of minimising disruption - some schools may see no disruption at all.
For those schools that see a large number of staff strike, there may be a need to restrict the amount of pupils due to safeguarding. In such instances, the Department for Education have requested that those children classed as vulnerable, children of critical workers and pupils who are due to take public examinations and assessments are prioritised.
Potential impact to employers
The question here can be two-fold;
- How do I ensure I have enough staff for a viable business operation?
- How do I treat this time my staff may need to look after their children?
There is no obligation for you to pay your staff if they need time off to look after their children, they can use unpaid Parental Leave or holiday, but maybe a hybrid approach including some homeworking (where possible) could help you reduce the business impact.
How can Haines Watts help?
There is a lot to consider, and if you would like support to determine how you manage through this period, please do not hesitate to let us know. We would be happy to discuss and advise your individualised approach.