Oaks Park staff picket school as new set of strike action begins

National Education Union picketers outside Oaks Park School this morning (September 7)

National Education Union picketers outside Oaks Park School this morning (September 7) - Credit: NEU

Staff at Oaks Park High School have begun another six days of strike action.

Approximately 30 members of the National Education Union (NEU) picketed the school in Newbury Park this morning (Tuesday) between 7am and 9am. 

It follows successive strike actions the previous academic year which led to a meeting in which the NEU alleged staff were being "bullied". 

Redbridge Council has said it will always follow up concerns about members of staff with leaders and governors. 

Venda Premkumar, district secretary for Redbridge NEU, said the meeting had been unsuccessful in resolving concerns.

Placards at the NEU picket of Oaks Park School

NEU members are striking at Oaks Park - Credit: Redbridge NEU

“It is disappointing that Redbridge Council has heard harrowing accounts of the bullying taking place at Oaks Park High and is still allowing it to continue,” she claimed. 

A spokesperson from Redbridge Council said it regretted the strike action and the disruption it would cause, but said it was satisfied the school had acted “in accordance to their policies in regard to one of the union representatives”.  

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They added: “We will always follow up any concerns raised about any school including members of staff. We will always follow up concerns with school leaders and governors.” 

The NEU took strike action in June and July, accusing senior management of "victimizing" staff after they asked to work offsite during the second wave of Covid-19. 

Redbridge Council said after reviewing the evidence, it was satisfied none of the school’s actions had been motivated by such requests, which were made under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act. 

In July, after 12 days of action, the union claimed it had achieved some success in resolving individual staff grievances, but the school and local authority disputed this characterisation at the time.  

The dispute is now focused on the reinstatement of a union rep and on addressing its alleged bullying at the school. 

The union, which has roughly 80 members at Oaks Park, will be on strike until September 9, and then again between Tuesday, September 14 and Thursday, September 16. 

The NEU said it intends to push for further strike action if a resolution is not reached, and claimed it is also considering taking the school and local authority to an employment tribunal. 

Oaks Park High School was also approached for comment.