Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

ASCL industrial action reminder on balloting

Several ASCL members are facing threats of industrial action over staff restructuring. Members who find themselves in this situation are reminded that industrial action in furtherance of a trade dispute can only be taken after a properly conducted ballot - not a staffroom vote. The employer also must be given due notice of action so that it can make arrangements to deal with it.

The ballot notice must be given to the employer and must include:

  • the categories of staff involved

  • the total number of employees involved

  • the number within each category

  • the number in each workplace

It is no longer possible for an employer to ask for the names of staff involved and it is doubtful whether 'workplace' can be stretched to describe a particular classroom in which a member of staff identifiably works.

It may be helpful to note that an employer is entitled to take the view that any interruption to the school, for half a day or ten minutes, constitutes a breach of contract for that day and hence justifies a deduction of the salary for that day.

Days lost in industrial action do, of course, affect pensions.

More information on industrial action is available in guidance paper 18: Trade Unions and School Management.

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