Months of strikes at a school are to come to an end after a dispute over hours and pay has been resolved. 

National Education Union (NEU) staff at Drapers’ Pyrgo Priory School in Harold Hill had been holding industrial action since May over a restructure which the union claimed would result in cuts to hours and pay grades

The school courted controversy for using agency staff to plug the gaps left by the strikes, something only possible due to legislation passed earlier this year. 

Bushra Nasir, chief executive of Drapers’ Multi-academy Trust (MAT), previously said the restructure was necessary to make savings, “but more importantly it provides excellent support for all pupils”. 

John Delaney, Havering’s NEU district branch secretary, said the dispute has now been resolved, with the school agreeing to pay compensation of between £750 to £1,000 to all staff who lost income due to the restructure. 

He added the school had already agreed an extension of pay grade protection from one to two years. 

Romford Recorder: Bushra Nasir, chief executive of Drapers’ Multi-academy TrustBushra Nasir, chief executive of Drapers’ Multi-academy Trust (Image: Archant)

However, he said the restructure had not been rolled back, though the job descriptions attached to pay grades were reviewed.

And he said the action highlighted “the lack of accountability in local schools”, and that the decision to involve agency staff “only served to prolong the strike as members refused to be broken by it”. 

“The strike was obviously very difficult for everyone involved, but it was vitally important for the union to support its lowest paid members, especially at this time of very high inflation,” he said.  

“We won significant compensation for the cuts to hours, which makes good the loss members would have suffered for eight to twelve months, depending on their hours. And we doubled the length of their salary protection, which helps soften the blow for those facing a pay downgrade.”

Romford Recorder: Staff on the picket line outside the school at a strike in JuneStaff on the picket line outside the school at a strike in June (Image: John Delaney)

Ms Nasir said: “The Drapers’ Multi-Academy Trust and the NEU have agreed to end the dispute at Drapers’ Pyrgo Priory school.   

“Agreement has been reached to compensate support staff whose hours and pay have been reduced following a restructure and strike action has now ended.   

“Both the trust and the NEU are pleased that a resolution has been found that now allows the school to move forward for the benefit of the children.” 

To get the latest news and features direct to your inbox, sign up for our Romford Recorder newsletter here.