I joined a new union over the weekend, after reading about yet another school IT technician suspended from work pending the outcome of an investigation into them that they are not even allowed to be told the details of.
What this usually means is an allegation by a child, and while genuine cases do exist, they are the exceptional minority. Most cases like this are down to the increasingly and disturbingly popular trend of using such allegations as a method for pupils to exact revenge on staff who have reprimanded them.
Unions tend to have a poor reputation in the press due to the more militant unions taking unpopular or unfounded strike action. The recent postal worker strikes in the UK had scant public support, and strikes by London Underground staff make the majority of London commuters decidedly furious.
For school workers, the real strength of union membership has nothing to do with strikes, or even pay negotiations, but in the legal protection and advice you are entitled to if either a student or the school itself tries to shaft you. My opinion is that every member of school staff should be in a union if only for that reason. Think of it as career insurance. Union membership costs less per month than your broadband rental, and you do not need to have a union rep at your school to obtain assistance.
- State sector: UNISON (join) or GMB (join).
In my last school, which was in the state sector, I was a member of UNISON. Also popular amongst school staff is the GMB. Find out which one is more popular with support staff in your school and join that one.
- Private sector: ATL (join).
Since my move to the private sector I did not know which union to join, since the above only deal with state schools. Acting on advice found on EduGeek, I discovered that the ATL cover support and administrative staff working in private schools. I am now a member.
You can join any of these unions online by using the links above. It will take you less than 10 minutes and could one day save your reputation and career. Do it now.