Teachers at Abbots Hill School in Hemel Hempstead to strike in pensions fight

The school says it has offered to meet the NEU and the NASUWT

By Holly Patel
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:25 am

Teachers at a Hemel Hempstead school are set to strike in the first of six planned days of action over a pensions row.

Members of NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union - at Abbots Hill School are taking strike action today (Thursday) - saying they have been threatened with dismissal unless they sign new contracts that would see them with worse pensions and working conditions.

The union claims the management at the independent school, which charges as much as £19,000 per pupil per year, is attempting to get away with ‘fire and rehire’ tactics.

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Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary

A spokesperson for Abbots Hill says the school has offered to meet the NEU and the NASUWT.

The union says teaching staff at the school are being made to accept worse contracts which withdraw them from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) - or face losing their jobs.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “The behaviour of the employer at Abbots Hill School has been appalling.

“It cannot be acceptable for teachers to be threatened with dismissal unless they agree to accept an inferior pension that will leave teachers poorer in the retirement.

“The teachers at Abbots Hill care deeply about their pupils; they just want to be treated fairly and valued for their work.

“If the employer has even a shred of decency they will drop these threats immediately.”

A spokesman Abbot's Hill School said: A spokesman for the school said: "The Governors and Head of Abbot’s Hill School regret that teaching members of the National Education Union (NEU) and NASUWT have voted to take industrial action.

"The school has offered to meet the NEU and the NASUWT.

"The consultation is still in progress and no final decisions have yet been made.

"Nearly a quarter of the country’s independent schools have left or are planning to leave the TPS because of the unrealistic and unsustainable level of employer contributions which amount to a 43 per cent increase since 2019.

"The School’s main objective now is to ensure that the best possible educational experience is delivered by the non-striking staff during this challenging time."

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“I urge the senior leadership of the school to drop these misguided and ill-advised tactics, get round the table with the NASUWT and talk with us so we can prevent a deepening of this dispute.”