The Teachers’ Union at Llangors Church in Wales Primary School went on strike this morning over concerns of adverse management and employer practices, potential job loss, health and safety, working conditions and redundancy.

Teachers, parents and members of NASUWT protested outside the school this morning on the first day of a two-day strike this week. The action is part of eleven days of strike action planned through April, May and June with the first day of strike action taking place on Wednesday, April 10.

The outcome of the ongoing redundancy process at the school, which is a key issue at the heart of this dispute, is set to be announced this week.

NASUWT, alongside many of the school’s parents, is calling for an immediate pause in the redundancy process. It is widely felt that the process has been poorly conducted by school management and has only come to pass due to years of financial mismanagement.

Speaking at this morning’s protest, Helen Johns, National Exexcutive Member for NASUWT told The Brecon & Radnor Express: “We are supporting our members in taking this lawful industrial action because of adverse management and governance practices at this school which has come to a head in a time sensitive manner because there is a redundancy process that we have evidence to show is completely unjustifiable and this was avoidable. The school had a very healthy budget when the current headteacher was appointed.

“There’s a whole array of issues about the way the school is managed. The control of information is a huge thing because the full governing body are not getting the information they need when they need it to be able to make informed decisions.

“In recruitment practices, there was a recruitment of a member of staff amid a redundancy plan, you don’t do that! You don’t appoint new staff when you’re planning to make people redundant. We’ve balloted, attained the strongest mandate we could possibly attain and had a one hundred per cent turnout, a one hundred per cent ‘yes’ to strike action, a one hundred per cent ‘yes’ to action short of strike action and we’re taking both.

“Not all the teachers who are involved in the industrial action are in the redundancy pool so that to me speaks volumes because they are standing with their colleagues.”

Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official for Wales, added: “One thing to consider is that strike action in Primary Schools is very rare because they work in small teams, they’re very close to the children, so for them to be so angry to take strike action has got to send a message to the employer that something is seriously wrong.

“There are a lot of legitimate issues and legitimate redundancy processes across the country, but this isn’t. This is an artificially created crisis created by bad management. To put it bluntly, they have blown the budget and now they expect one of our members to pay for it and that’s not going to happen. It’s not acceptable and we’re going to fight it.

“These teachers hate being out here because of the detrimental effect on the children, but how else are they going to get their voice heard and they’re not going to put up with the fact that the children are going to have one less teacher. They’re fighting for the children, but what are Powys (County Council) doing? Are they going to be fighting for the children? It’s a lovely school, lovely community, lovely staff and this shouldn’t be happening to them.”

Emma Davies, who has been heading up the parents action group said: “This is an entirely avoidable situation and we want an investigation into this process, the school governance and the school’s funds and obviously at the end of the day we don’t want to have a teacher made redundant. The support here today and on the online petitions has meant everything really and we’ll carry on until we get the result that we need. I said all along that we’ll fight for what is right and this is not right.”