Louise Lewis, the suspended National Education Union rep at North Huddersfield Trust School, has finally been reinstated after a seven-month battle by her fellow union members.
Facing a disciplinary hearing and potential dismissal, the NEU rep was suspended by the school as a result of her union activity in monitoring its new health and safety measures. Enraged by this attack on their union, the staff continued their on-going defence of Louise with the first two days of planned strike action at the end of April.
Recognised as union victimisation by her national union and the local community, the campaign against the school leadership has drawn a great deal of support. An NEU spokesperson said “The NEU believe this is a direct result of Louise's activity as a rep in seeking to secure a safe working environment.”
Huddersfield Trades Council added that it “and the local parents remain steadfast in their support for Louise…We recognise this is vindictive victimisation of a local union rep whose only ‘crime’ has been to challenge the school on their inadequate health and safety protocols.”
Facing the threat of further days of strike from their NEU staff, the school disciplinary hearing ruled in her favour, and left the headteacher to answer questions over his actions. A local NEU branch member commented, “Let this be a lesson to those who, at a time when we all should be pulling together, think that unions play no part in seeing us safely through such a trial.”