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Strike could close school

PUBLISHED: 16:47 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:33 11 August 2010

TRINITY Specials Needs School will close this week as staff belonging to GMB union voted to strike after nearly two years of talks broke down. At a mass meeting last Wednesday, March 11, over 85 GMB union members voted to reject an offer from the schoo

TRINITY Specials Needs School will close this week as staff belonging to GMB union voted to strike after nearly two years of talks broke down.

At a mass meeting last Wednesday, March 11, over 85 GMB union members voted to reject an offer from the school in response to their Special Educational Needs Allowance (SNA) claim for support staff.

Trinity school, just off Dagenham Heathway, caters for children in the borough living with special needs and disabilities.

The first day of strike action will be tomorrow (Thursday) March 19 and is expected to close the school to students.

GMB members who work at Trinity Special School, helping teachers to educate the pupils, voted overwhelmingly for strike action if talks broke down.

Last week the school offered an allowance to just 66 members of support staff an offer deemed "derisory" and "divisive" by GMB.

Teachers at the school receive an annual Special Educational Needs Allowance of at least £1,912.

They are supported in their work by the GMB members who work in a wide variety of jobs including as co-educators, midday assistants and instructors.

Justin Bowden, GMB Senior Organiser said: "Our members at Trinity found the school's offer was derisory and divisive.

"It would have provided only 66 of the Support Staff with a payment which was far below their expectation.

"Our members at Trinity are as highly skilled and experienced as they are dedicated to their jobs, this really is the last resort.

"We are calling on Barking & Dagenham Council, as the ultimate employer, to intervene and sit down with the school and the union to hammer out a solution."

A council spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the strike action is going ahead.

"We are keeping parents fully informed about possible school closures to ensure the inconvenience to them and their children is kept to a minimum.


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