Model motion: Defend Kirstie Paton!

Motion opposing the trade union victimisation of Kirstie Paton, NEU Inner London Executive member 

  • This branch/district notes: 
    1. The threat of disciplinary action being taken against Kirstie Paton, one of our Inner London members of the National Executive of the NEU. This disciplinary action is being threatened by her school management, part of United Learning (UL). 
    2. The basis of this disciplinary action is a post made by Kirstie on her NEU National Executive Facebook page in the week before Christmas. In this post she criticised the DfE and United Learning’s use of Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) to run school testing sites using existing school staff, because of health and safety concerns. 
    3. This post was made at a time when there was extreme pressure on schools to remain open, despite the scientific evidence that schools were acting as key vectors of transmission of the virus, and when numerous medical experts had stated that LFTs were unsuitable for use in schools given the high level of false negatives provided by such tests. 
    4. This threat of disciplinary action against Kirstie is part of an increasing number of cases across the country where employers are targeting and attempting to silence union reps when they raise health and safety concerns and stand up for members rights in the workplace. 
  • This district believes that: 
    1. The threat to discipline Kirstie is a case of trade union victimisation. Trade union representatives are entitled to be spokespersons on school safety She represents thousands of members in Inner London and has supported reps and members in carrying out health and safety checks in their own schools. This threat is an attempt to silence Kirstie, other activists and union reps for trying to make their schools safe and defend workplace conditions for all. 
    2. It is unacceptable that the victimisation of union reps such as Kirstie should be taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic when the ability of union representatives to speak out about health and safety is even more important than ever. 
  • This branch/district resolves to: 
    1. Circulate details of Kirstie’s case and campaign to all members of the district, and to encourage members to write letters to Cath Smith, Headteacher at The John Roan School  opposing any disciplinary action. 
    2. Instruct the District Committee to write to United Learning defending  Kirstie’s  right to speak out about health and safety issues as a school rep, Assistant Secretary of Greenwich District, Health and Safety Officer of Greenwich District and as a member of the National Executive. Inform them that this NEU  district will not tolerate any attempts by UL to victimise and silence reps in the trust. 
    3. Call on the NEU National Executive to issue an immediate statement in support of Kirstie, making clear their intention to defend her as a member, union rep, local officer and member of the National Executive. 
    4. Support a London day of action to demand disciplinary action be withdrawn and to build a campaign to defend NEU victimised reps.