Members of NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union at Llangors CiW Primary School will take strike action tomorrow (Wednesday).

11 days of discontinuous industrial action are being taken over adverse management and employer practices, potential job loss, health and safety, working conditions and redundancy.

The days of strike action are planned through April, May and June.

The union says that teachers are striking to bring about the changes needed to safeguard the school. 

The union claims that “poor management decisions” over the last two and half years have resulted in “an entirely avoidable” redundancy situation at the school. It adds that the subsequent redundancy process has been mismanaged, which has caused stress and uncertainty for teachers.

NASUWT seeks an immediate halt to the redundancy process amongst other key changes, already outlined to the LA in writing in March, which are “desperately needed to restore sound management and governance at this primary school at the heart of the Llangors community.”

In mid-March, NASUWT communicated with the employer to set out requirements for ending the dispute, but they say there has been no attempt by the employer to start serious negotiations. 

NASUWT says it is particularly concerned that the school and Powys County Council have continued to reference “continuing discussions” in correspondence to parents.

Despite their efforts, they say that no such discussions have taken place.

These words have been referenced in local media, which they say has caused further distress to members and served to weaken their trust in both the school’s management and the local authority.

Only this morning, after mounting pressure from key stakeholders in Senedd and Westminster politicians, did the new Powys Director of Education, Richard Jones, attend a meeting with NASUWT.

The union says that “no progress” was made at this time and strike action could not be averted. NASUWT will continue to work with the Director of Education in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The stalemate at Llangors Church in Wales Primary School could have been easily avoided if school management and Powys County Council had chosen to listen to the valid concerns of its dedicated teachers. But there has been no serious engagement with the NASUWT to resolve the issues of concern at the school and no attempt to even start negotiations.

“School management and Powys County Council have a duty of care towards teachers and pupils at Llangors. They must make sure that teachers are safe and empowered to do their jobs.

“Teachers deserve better than being ignored by their employers. NASUWT will continue to support members at Llangors until they have the safe and fair working conditions they are entitled to.”

Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official Wales, said: “Our members are not going to pay with their jobs for failures in financial management from the school leadership. The members are not taking this action lightly. They are striking not just to protect themselves but their school and their community. They have been failed by school leadership and the local authority.”   

Helen Johns, NASUWT National Executive Member, added: "We should not be needing to take strike action at this school. There was plenty of time for meaningful negotiation but we have been faced by an employer that either does not care or is clueless as to what to do. The first thing that they needed to do was to have met with us as we urged them to do and start some meaningful talks. Doing nothing has just escalated the situation. This is something we all want to avoid so we need action now."

MP Fay Jones said she was “staggered” that Powys County Council had “let it get this far”.

“This [strike] is entirely avoidable if Powys County Council had simply gotten around the table to discuss the strike,” said the Brecon and Radnorshire MP.

“After being made aware of the outcome of the ballot and the decision to strike, the local authority could have arranged a meeting to discuss the dispute. This would have paused the planned strikes. However, Powys County Council has failed to meet with the NASUWT meaning that the strikes will go ahead. I cannot understand why the leaders of Powys County Council are not prepared to act to stop these strikes.

“Children and parents have been through too much in recent years. It is critical that Powys County Council gets around the table urgently to discuss this issue.”

“The power to stop the strikes is in the county council’s hands. I urge them to meet with Llangors teachers, and the unions, immediately,” added Ms Jones.

In a statement given to the Brecon & Radnor Express this morning, the county council said that officers met with the union on March 8.

They added that relevant officers will continue discussions, as the matter “progresses through formal processes.”

The spokesperson for Powys said that schools across Wales “continue to face significant pressures” due to falling pupil numbers as well as financial pressures including pay, energy and other costs.

“Although the council has agreed to include an additional £4.2m directly into Powys schools delegated budgets, we are unable to fully protect all schools from the funding pressures they face,” they said.

“Governing bodies, like council services, will need to consider how they manage their financial pressures within the resources available to them via the agreed school funding formula. This will mean that they face difficult decisions as to how they realign and set their budgets within the funding available to them.

“Governing bodies have a legal duty to set a balanced budget and failure to do so could result in the council taking appropriate action. However, the council has been proactively supporting schools across the county in their work to realign and set their budgets.”

“The council fully supports the school’s governing body in their pro-active approach in dealing with these financial pressures and working to realign and set their budgets and believes that the school has acted in a correct and appropriate manner with the council’s support,” added the spokesperson.