Strike Action FAQ

Q1. What do I do on a strike day?

We hope that you will join a picket line before the start of the school day and leave at a time that will be confirmed by the SSTA once the school day has started.

Q2. Why is our school picket important?

The SSTA picket is to communicate and publicise with the other colleagues, pupils, parents/carers and others on the pay dispute.

Q3. What is the SSTA guidance on picket?

The law does not impose a specific limit on the number of people who may picket at any one workplace. The police have discretionary powers to limit the number of pickets where they have reasonable grounds.

The UK Government's Code of Practice on Picketing, which is not in itself legally enforceable, suggests that a picket line should not exceed six. There is therefore no set limit on picket size.

Q4. Will the SSTA School Representative be the picket supervisor?

The school rep would normally be the picket supervisor and will have be provided with an appropriate identification for the strike day.

Q5. My school does not have a rep, who would be our picket supervisor?

Your members should make arrangements to elect or appoint one of you to be a picket supervisor on the strike day.

Q6. If there is a problem on any picket line, who do I contact?

You should contact SSTA Head Office

Q7. Will the SSTA be sending placards to the school for picketing?

SSTA placards will be sent to all schools and digital materials will be available that can be produced locally.

Q8. Will the other trade union members or other staff pick up my work on a strike day?

Other trade unions have advised their members not to pick up work done by a striking worker.

Q9. If I join the SSTA before the strike, would I be included in the strike mandate?

If you join the SSTA before the day of the strike you will be covered by the SSTA strike mandate.

Q10. Does the SSTA give each school or local authority a list of members’ names?

No, we give Councils the number of members per workplace who are teachers (including PTs, HTs etc.).

Q11. My headteacher has asked me if I am going to go on strike?

You should not inform your school or council of your intention to take strike action. The SSTA has already given notice with all the required information to your employer – there is nothing else any individual member needs to do.

Q12. We have a staff meeting or parents evening on day of strike action do I have to attend?

Being on strike means that you should not do any work on the day of strike action including attending any meeting arranged on that day.

Q13. I am being asked by the local authority to prepare remote/online learning activities for pupils to undertake from home on the strike day?

As a striking worker, you cannot be asked to put measures in place to compensate for the fact that you will be withdrawing your labour on the strike day.

Q14. Will the SSTA be paying strike pay for every day of strike action?

No. National strike action cannot be funded as it would be financially unsustainable.

Q15. I voted against strike action - should I go on strike?

Trade unions are democratic bodies and expect members to follow the collective decision.

Q16. I refuse to strike – will I be expelled from the SSTA?

It is unlawful for trade unions to discipline members for breaking trade union solidarity by refusing to strike.

Q17. Is this strike action lawful?

Yes, because the SSTA carried out a lawful statutory ballot for strike action and the SSTA has issued the required statutory strike notices to all local authorities as employers.

Q18. Am I breaching my contract by going out on strike?

All industrial action is a breach of contract as you are withholding your labour.  However, your breach of contract (i.e. strike action) is protected by law as we have obtained a lawful strike mandate.

Q19. Can I be dismissed for taking strike action?

You are protected from dismissal on grounds related to the strike action for the first 12 weeks of the strike for taking lawful strike action.

Q20. Do I lose continuity of service by going out on strike?

No. Your service is not broken or reset by carrying out strike action.

Q21. I am a supply teacher, should I be on strike too?

Yes, if you are contracted to work on a strike day.

Q22. Does the SSTA issue strike exemptions to some members?

As strike action may have an unfair future impact on certain groups of members therefore, we will provide exemptions for members who are pregnant and expecting a child or who will adopt or have a surrogate baby.

Any other member who feels they may need any exemption are asked to make contact with SSTA Head Office at info@ssta.org.uk

Q23. If I have an exemption what do I have to do?

You will have to report to work in the way that has been advised by your Council/Head Teacher for those not engaging in strike action. 

Q24. Are probationer teachers included?

Yes, since probationers are Local Authority employees, and their pay is determined by the SNCT.

However, for some probationers, who are nearing the 20-day absence limit, the SSTA will not jeopardise their position and will automatically grant an exemption from participation in these circumstances..

Q25. Are independent schools covered in the statutory ballot?

Independent schools’ teacher salaries often track SNCT agreed salaries they are not part of the SNCT collective bargaining arrangements. The SSTA is not in dispute with any independent school and has not conducted a statutory ballot.

Q26. I am a student teacher and a member of the SSTA. How does the strike affect me?

Students are not Council employees and are not paid on the SNCT scale – and they are exempted from the strike. If school buildings are open, student teachers should attend in the usual way but should not be asked to nor should they undertake, duties of striking colleagues.

Q27. Do I need to leave work for my classes on the day of the strike?

No. SSTA members are on strike and are not required to set work.

Q29. Do I need to inform the police or my employer that a picket is taking place at my school?

No. The SSTA has informed the police that SSTA members will form a picket at all schools on the day of the strike. The SSTA has informed the employer as required by the legislation.

Q30. Are any pregnant members exempt from taking strike action? 

Exemptions can be granted in exceptional circumstances, for example pregnant teachers whose maternity pay might be negatively affected by taking strike action, i.e. if date of action falls within their qualification period for calculation of future maternity pay. This period can be identified using this online calculator: https://www.gov.uk/maternity-paternity-pay-leave/

Please contact Info@ssta.org.uk if strike action falls within your qualification period or you need further help with identifying whether you require an exemption to be made.

Q31. My employer has told me I am exempt from taking strike action because…?

Some local authorities have contacted SSTA stating that certain categories of staff and workplaces are exempt from taking strike action. Only the SSTA will authorise exemptions for members from strike action.

Any member who feels they may need any exemption are asked to make contact with SSTA Head Office at info@ssta.org.uk

SSTA

Contact Details

Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, West End House, 14 West End Place, Edinburgh EH11 2ED

0131 313 7300
info@ssta.org.uk

Monday to Thursday – 9am to 4.45pm Friday - 9am to 4.15pm

Copyright © 2024 SSTA All Rights Reserved