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Teaching union threatens legal action after Haringey suspends its rep

Haringey has been threatened with legal action Haringey has been threatened with legal action

Friday, July 25, 2014
7:00 AM

Headteachers have been accused of wanting a return to the Soviet era after the borough’s NUT representative was suspended.

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Haringey NUT secretary Julie Davies was suspended by the council last Thursday – the same day the Broadway exclusively revealed how relations between the union and the borough’s secondary heads were reaching boiling point.

The heads were refusing to sign a new “service level agreement” (SLA) – which is meant to pay for union representation in schools, a legal requirement – because they were unhappy with the way the NUT was conducting itself.

The Broadway has now been shown another letter from the heads, which explicitly says they have decided “it is not feasible for any of us to sign up to the proposed SLA whilst the NUT incumbent, Ms Julie Davies, is in post”.

They claim her “preferred approach and working style is one of confrontation and obfuscation”, and that she “seeks to 
encourage a climate of mistrust”.

However, exactly why Ms Davies has been suspended remains unclear, as neither Haringey nor the NUT are able to reveal the details.

But Bob Stapley, the NUT’s regional officer for London, says two of the four counts levelled at her “have no connection whatsoever to her employment with the council” – adding fuel to the theory that the heads want her gone. Mr Stapley said: “They want to get rid of her. She is our representative, and we say that is not going to happen.” He also confirmed that the NUT has given Haringey two weeks to drop the suspension, or face legal action, as Ms Davies is not centrally employed, and so could not be suspended by the council – only by the school where she works.

He added: “The NUT remains free and independent. It appears some people in Haringey do not like that. They want to see a return to Soviet unions, where they serve the interests of the manager rather than the interests of the members.

“Heads may not like working with Julie; we may not like working with some heads. But we don’t ask for them to be sacked.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We do not comment on matters involving individual staff members.”

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