Redbridge school accused of targeting union members

A Redbridge school has been accused of “victimising” union members who campaigned against vulnerable staff being forced to travel into work during lockdown.

In January, Oaks Park High School in Newbury Park, Ilford, was accused of “bullying” and putting lives at risk by refusing to let staff work remotely.

The National Education Union (NEU) claimed staff were told to come into work to deliver online lessons, even if pregnant or disabled, or face being disciplined.

After union reps encouraged staff to exercise their legal rights to refuse unsafe work, the school changed its policy, but the NEU claims these reps are now being “targeted and bullied”.

An NEU petition in support of one representative, Keiran Mahon, states both he and his co-rep at the school “had allegations made against (them) within weeks” of the campaign.

The petition claims the allegations against Mr Mahon, heard at a disciplinary hearing on April 19, “are grossly overstated and should have been dealt with informally”.

It adds: “The NEU believes that the real reason for the disciplinary action against Keiran is victimisation for his trade union activity.

“Kieran Mahon should be free to carry out his trade union duties without fear of victimisation. Attacks on the union reps in the school is an attack on all members’ right to be in a union.”

The NEU has declined to comment or to clarify what allegations were made against Mr Mahon at this time.

Redbridge Council, which the school indicated would speak on its behalf, was contacted for comment on April 19 and had not yet responded at the time of writing.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter