In the campaign in defence of victimised NEU [National Education Union] rep and NEU National Executive member Tracy McGuire, local trade unionists and councillors have signed a press release, and plans are afoot for community activists to seek a meeting with Tracy’s school, Rydal Academy in Darlington.
The campaign is holding weekly updates on Zoom to oppose the academy chain adding Tracy to a list of redundancies, apparently as a result of Tracy doing her job to keep her colleagues and community as safe as possible during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, over 230 supporters attended an online rally on Mon 22 March to support Kirstie Paton of Greenwich NEU. As well as Kirstie, the rally was addressed by other victimised reps Louise Lewis, John Boken, and Tracy McGuire, Kevin Courtney (NEU Joint General Secretary), Paul Mason, and John McDonnell. International solidarity was given by Ellen Freedman from the US.
NEU members at Kirstie’s school, the John Roan School, are currently balloting for strike action. At Shrewsbury College, NEU members are striking to force management to drop all charges against John Boken.
The approaching NEU Annual Conference (online from 7-10 April) provides an opportunity for the union to develop policy on defending union reps. A prioritised motion on “Defending School Reps” calls for “preparations for a ballot for industrial action to oppose suspension or dismissal [to] begin as soon as the Rep is suspended”.