Teachers’ and public services’ unions in Tower Hamlets consider strike over job cuts
OVER 5000 council workers and teachers in Tower Hamlets could go on strike in March in response to the threat of redundancies resulting from council cuts.
The East London Teachers Association has balloted its members since February 12 over plans for a day of strike action and public service union UNISON also issued a notice to members yesterday.
The two unions are looking to co-ordinate their strikes to a single day at the end of March and are considering further strike action depending on the response from members.
UNISON’s Tower Hamlets branch secretary, John McLoughlin, said: “We have decided to ballot because of the scale of council redundancies.”
ELTA has raised concerns over cuts to teaching support services in the borough.
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Teaching staff at the Professional Development Centre in English Street, Mile End have been told to expect a 15 per cent cut from their support for learning budget.
This funds, among other services, their deaf and partial hearing team which supports children with mild to profound hearing loss from birth to 19 with language lessons.
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The team has been told that the equivalent of 8.7 full-time posts will be lost from a staff of 47.
Amanda Bentham, who works with the service, said: “If support is withdrawn, many of us fear that the children we help will end up requiring a statement of special educational needs.
“That could lead to further costs in the future.”
“The borough’s history of improvement and achievement in education is largely down to collaboration between schools and support teams.
A council spokeswoman said: “All of the services previously offered by the team will still be available to schools through service level agreements.”