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Pimlico School Strike Action, Tuesday, November 27th


Derek McMillan
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Pimlico School Strike Action, Tuesday, November 27th

Members of the National Union of Teachers at Pimlico School are taking strike action on Tuesday, November 27th because we believe 30 minutes is an unreasonably short lunch break for staff and students.

Westminster City Council leaders told NUT representatives at a last minute meeting to try to avert the strike, that “there is not a compromise on offer here”. Hours before the meeting, the Council sent out a press release denouncing the Union. Clearly they have no desire to reach an agreement.

The explanation given by the Council for the 30 minute lunch break is to manage the school during the two and a half year demolition and rebuilding of the school due to start in January. By keeping staff and pupils on site during what will be a difficult period, the Westminster will save £millions and they will earn even more by selling the site of a public library which they propose to move on to the School site. (They want to take away the School’s swimming pool to make room for this).

Imposing a 30-minute lunch break is part of the process of forcing Pimlico School to become an academy. Both Westminster and Paddington academies, which opened in Sept 2006, tired to impose a 30 minute lunch break and it was only the threat of action by the NUT which won an extension for staff and pupils.

NUT members understand that there will be problems managing a school on a building site for more than two years. However, we do not believe that staff and students should be forced to bear the brunt of this, especially given the fact that Westminster City Council is (as in the sale of the sites of North Westminster Community School) going to make a huge financial gain from the process.

We urge the Council to come forward with serious proposals to help the school through this difficult time.

We are taking strike action only very reluctantly – having already postponed it once to avoid disruption of a parents evening – and only after a long period of trying to negotiate a settlement. But we do not believe that staff and students should suffer in order to save money for one of the richest local authorities in the world.

NUT members represent the majority of teaching staff at Pimlico. We are asking that members of other unions, including Support Staff, do not cover for work normally done by NUT members. We believe, that in the light of this, the Head should close the school.

Padraic Finn

Secretary,

Westminster National Union of Teachers

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