TEACHERS from Poole's Victoria Education Centre are set to take strike action again this week, as a row over conditions of employment with boss Livability continues.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) will down tools for three days of action from Tuesday, April 20, up until Thursday, April 22.

They have already taken part in strike action for three days, with picket lines outside the special school in Lindsay Road.

NEU senior regional officer Ian McCann said: "Our teacher members have now undertaken three days of strike action and a further 16 days are planned.

"Our members would rather be in the classroom supporting and educating the pupils of VEC.

"However, they also wish to be recognised as the dedicated professionals they are.

"Our teacher members are not prepared to continue working under eroded terms and conditions of employment that do not match the national terms and conditions that most teachers across the country have."

Union members are taking strike action over new contracts which were introduced by the charity Livability, which runs the school for students with physical disabilities or complex medical/neurological conditions, at the end of last term.

Teachers say changes to sick pay and maternity pay mean their employment terms no longer match national terms and conditions enjoyed by the majority of other teachers.

Livability insist the contracts remain in line with national conditions, and that contract changes were necessary to support the long term financial sustainability of the charity.

The NEU, along with other unions, is set to meet Livability bosses on April 28.

Mr McCann said: "I am hopeful that this meeting will be fruitful and am confident that meaningful negotiation will resolve this dispute”

Meanwhile, in a statement released by Livability education director, Adele Audin, in response to the first wave of strikes, she said: "This decision was made in the best interests of the children we serve.

"In moving towards the new contracts, we can ensure that we are best placed to provide the same exceptional education for our children and young people.

"We are committed to fostering good and effective relations with our employees and trade unions alike, without impacting on our children and their families and it is with regret that we find ourselves in this position.”