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School closures next week, owing to industrial action, mean all employers need a contingency plan writes Andrew Forrest for HR Magazine.

“Thousands of schools, colleges and universities across England and Wales face closure on Thursday 30 June as the National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the Universities and Colleges Union threaten industrial action over proposed changes to the Teachers Pensions Scheme.

On Wednesday (last week) it was announced that the National Association of Head teachers may join the strike, and with members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) also voting for strike action on the same day, over 750,000 workers could be participating in what will be the largest coordinated action of its kind for many years. And it isn’t just schools – courts, ports and job centres will all be affected by the strikes.

Given the likelihood of school closures it is strongly recommended employers in both the private and public sectors undertake a risk assessment at the earliest opportunity to ascertain the likely impact a strike by teachers will have both on their workforce and business as parents seek time off for childcare purposes.

A good starting point is to find out how many local schools are likely to face closure and to consult the workforce to determine the best measures to be taken that will benefit all. Sensible and proactive communication is best to alleviate worker concerns and identify areas of the business most likely to be affected”

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