Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: Teachers strike over imposition of random drug tests

Representatives of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, will tomorrow (Thursday) be holding a peaceful demonstration outside the Headquarters of the SENAD Group in Derby, which runs Alderwasley Hall School, a specialist residential school for children and young people who have speech, language and communication needs.

NASUWT members at the School have this week been taking strike action in protest at the employer’s imposition of a random drug testing policy on staff.

The NASUWT believes that the policy is unnecessary, unacceptable and in breach of the legislative rights of the teachers at the School.

A member of the NASUWT has been suspended for refusing to be subjected to the random testing and other teachers have been threatened with dismissal if they refuse.

Eleven members of the NASUWT at the School took strike action on Tuesday 4 December and Wednesday 5 December and will be taking further strike action today, Thursday 6 December.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“It is simply unacceptable for an employer to impose a policy of drug and alcohol testing which we believe is unjustified and unlawful and attacks the professionalism of the teachers at the School.

“There is no basis whatsoever for believing that dedicated and committed teachers at Alderwasley Hall School are misusing drugs or alcohol.

“This is simply a case of an employer abusing its position and flagrantly disregarding the rights of its employees.

“The NASUWT members at the School are to be congratulated for their determination to make a stand to defend their rights and professionalism against such an abuse of authority.”

Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT National Executive Member for Derbyshire said:

“It is outrageous to imply by the imposition of this policy that the teachers at the School are taking drugs.

“This is a deeply misguided policy which is sending out the entirely wrong signals about the professionalism of employees and creating an atmosphere of deep mistrust.

“Our members simply want to get on with the job of teaching and supporting the pupils at the School but they have been forced into taking strike action by the attitude of the Employer.

“This matter can be resolved very quickly if the employer reinstates the suspended teacher, withdraws the threats of dismissal of other teachers and sits down to talk with the NASUWT about how the dispute over the policy can be resolved.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A letter sent by Chris Keates General Secretary to the Employer challenging the legality of the policy is attached for information.

There will be a picket at the School at 7.30am.

This will be followed by a demonstration by NASUWT representatives outside the Headquarters of the SENAD Group, which runs Alderwasley Hall.

The demonstration will be taking place from 10am at 1 St Georges House, Vernon Gate, off Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1UQ

For Media enquires contact Ben Padley, Press and Media Officer.



Ben Padley,

Press and Media Officer,

Campaigns and Communications,

NASUWT

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