TEACHERS at Sir Thomas Picton School and Tasker Milward School are on strike today (June 12) over fears jobs could be lost after the two schools merge.

Teachers in the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) took to the picket line outside County Hall after negotiations with Pembrokeshire County Council about the length of time staff could be offered a guarantee of no redundancies failed.

Western Telegraph:

Geraint Davies (centre), and Glinys Meredudd (right), with staff on strike at County Hall.

Glinys Meredydd, Pembrokeshire secretary for NASUWT, said: “These teachers are very very worried about their jobs. We asked for three years guarantee originally of no compulsory redundancies, and have compromised on two years.

“The local authority have said the most they can guarantee is 18 months. We have said we would like to see the new school settle down. The staff just want two years to do the best for the kids.”

Western Telegraph:

NASUWT members in Haverfordwest are concerned with the length of time guaranteed before compulsory redundancies are made at Haverfordwest High VC School.

Geraint Davies, NASUWT regional official, said the union had made a genuine offer to the local authority.

“As far as we are concerned this strike is regrettable,” he said.

“Both schools said in letters we will continue to have discussions with NASUWT, but when we approached the authority to have that meeting they said no.

“This matter could have been resolved in the back end of last week. The ball is back in the authority’s court.”

Western Telegraph:

Staff members on strike at County Hall.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council said they and the governing body were disappointed by the decision to pursue industrial action after negotiations.

They said: “The governing body do not accept that they have refused to continue negotiating with the NASUWT. Indeed the offer to the trade union to meet with the local authority and governors remained open last week but no response was received from the NASUWT.

“It is however true that the temporary governing body cannot concede to the demand of the NASUWT that there be no compulsory redundancies for two years.

“This is because there are no guarantees of funding at a national or local level and this could leave a legacy funding position that would be untenable for the permanent governing body.

“Agreement has been offered for an 18 months guarantee to ensure staffing remains consistent during the period the school is on a split site and if this arrangement was to continue then the staffing model would also continue.”

Western Telegraph:

Approximately 30 members of staff were at County Hall, but union officials said more were on strike.

Letters were sent home to parents of students at both schools at the end last week confirming the strike action.

The letter received by parents of STP pupils reads: “The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) have balloted for strike action in response to a trade dispute over a school closure with potential restructuring, job-loss, and changes to working practices.”

The three dates announced were Tuesday, June 12, Thursday, June 28, and Wednesday, July 11.

The school is expected to be closed on the two future dates, but pupils taking external exams today have not been affected, with the canteen and transport services still operating for them.