Industrial action

By law, official industrial action must meet particular balloting requirements before it can be undertaken. Where members of another union are taking action at your workplace, you should follow the guidelines set out below.

They can also be downloaded here.

Conduct during industrial disputes

These guidelines are intended to help AMiE members faced with industrial action by trade union members at their place of work.

General principles

Members should at all times uphold the good standing of AMiE and the profession. The interests of the learner must be a key concern. However, members should not act in a manner that undermines or interferes with the action of staff carrying out the lawful policies of their own trade unions.

Health and safety

Each institution has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its staff and students. If as a result of the action, fewer staff will be working normally then consideration should be given to the impact upon this legal duty. This will require assessing risk in the expectation of the industrial action, taking account of matters such as expected staff to student ratios, the special needs of any individuals, numbers of first aiders and fire marshals etc.

Risk assessments should be undertaken by senior managers, and if members have any doubts about the safety implications these should be raised with their line manager.

Working normally

Members should, unless advised otherwise by AMiE, carry out their normal duties only, and avoid any breach of their contract of employment.

Members may be asked to arrange teaching cover for staff who are on strike. They may also be asked personally to cover for colleagues who are on strike. As far as possible, members should adhere to established practice and respect the principle above that they should not undermine the lawful industrial action of colleagues who are taking action. However, it may be necessary to supervise students solely for the purposes of ensuring their health, safety and welfare.

Where members' duties might lead to conflict with members of staff taking industrial action, they should consult with their appropriate line manager.

Where instructions of the line manager and/or principal/chief executive conflict with these guidelines, then members should refer the matter immediately to AMiE officers.

Picket lines

If members of unions conducting the dispute are picketing outside the premises, the obligation on AMiE members to work normally means that they must be prepared to cross the picket line, even though this may lead to some embarrassment or antipathy from colleagues.

In the unlikely event that a member is physically prevented from attending work, he/she should formally notify their employer that this is the case and that they are not taking industrial action.

Some members may, of course, decide as a matter of personal choice not to cross a picket line and so fail to attend work. However, it is likely that the employer will regard this as a breach of contract and withhold salary for the day(s) concerned.

Closure of the workplace

If the principal or head teacher decides to close the institution on the day of any industrial action, members should notify him/her that they are not taking part in the industrial action and that they are available to work normally. Members should turn up for work as normal unless advised otherwise in advance by senior management.