Tough new strike laws will ‘add confusion’ in FE

Confirmation that tough new strike rules will apply to FE workers will “add confusion” rather than clarity, unions have warned.

The government’s ballot threshold consultation response, published Thursday (January 21) lists teaching and leadership of “pupils aged 5 to 16 in state-funded schools” as “important public services” which would be subject to the new 40 per cent support threshold for strike action, as part of the new trade union bill.

And a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) confirmed that the tough new threshold would apply to “any teacher teaching a child under 17” whether in FE or a school.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), called the policy “ill-thought through”.

She said: “The government has a poor understanding of how schools and colleges work.

“This will lead to a greater likelihood of legal challenges from employers which will prolong disputes, even when, like the wider public, union members want a resolution.”

“This legislation will do nothing to serve the interests of students or their parents,” she added.

“Today’s clarity is more likely to add confusion,” said University and College Union (UCU) head of bargaining Michael MacNeil.


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