Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/927/24035
From The Socialist newspaper, 30 November 2016
Durham teaching assistants determined to win
Durham TAs strike 24 November photo Durham TAs/Twitter (Click to enlarge)
Alan Docherty, Teesside Socialist Party
Durham teaching assistants (TAs) successfully took another two days of strike action on 23 and 24 November. A hundred schools were picketed. On 23 November over 1,000 teaching assistants descended on Durham with public street protests and a march. The TAs are continuing industrial action by working to their contracts.
Despite these strikes the Labour council remains adamant that it has no choice but to cut the TAs pay by 23% in order to prevent the costs of equal pay claims which they say would amount to millions of pounds and cause hundreds of redundancies. The council has been employing new TAs on the reduced contracts since June 2016 and it boasts that it has had no problems filling these posts.
The council has now agreed to meet with Unison who have made it clear that Durham council must commit to meaningful negotiations and abandon its plans to sack and re-engage the TAs, before it will cease industrial action. Further strikes have been announced for 1, 6, 7, and 8 December.
The TAs have received massive public support which has been carried over into the Labour Party. Despite attempts by the council's Labour group to suppress debate, Durham City Labour Party has unanimously passed, at an all member meeting, a motion in support of the Durham TAs.
It asks Durham council to seek a solution to the dispute which involves a pause to the threat of dismissal and a collective regrading where no TAs are left in a worse financial position.
Similar motions have been passed by other Labour Party branches and constituency Labour parties. It is still not clear what the official negotiating position of Unison is.
There appears to be a reluctance to press for the reopening of job evaluation to regrade the TAs because of an acceptance of the council's negotiating position of a fear that increased salary costs could result in job and service cuts elsewhere.
Despite Tory central government cuts, Durham council is running a budget surplus this year of over £2 million and has useable reserves in the region of £300 million. The council can afford to pay the TAs more. It should not be accepting Tory austerity to bash the workforce, but instead be fighting the government to demand adequate funding for local services.
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In The Socialist 30 November 2016:
Fight for workers' democracy in Cuba
Socialist Party news and analysis
Time to fight low pay
Hands off our NHS!
Hunger strikes, suicides - end detention now
Women bear 85% of benefit cuts
Fight to make letting agent fee ban reality
Hospital admissions for malnutrition rise threefold
Them & Us: Autumn Statement special!
What We Saw
What we think
Brexit spin: demand a real workers' exit
The housing crisis - a toxic issue for the Tories
Homelessness - capitalism is destroying people's lives
Fight the cuts - victims of domestic abuse depend on it
Workplace news and analysis
London Crossrail workers walk out
Durham teaching assistants determined to win
Strike action across London and South East rail network
Protest to demand pay rise for Sheffield
Young workers in Leeds socialise and mobilise at Unison young workers gig
The fight in Labour
Support the campaign to readmit expelled trade union militants
Conference to debate TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections
Labour Party branch votes for reselection
Southampton Labour councillors vote through more cuts
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Sheffield for sale!
Hands off HRI charts way forward
Reclaim the Night solidarity march
Repeal the 8th protest for abortion rights
Leicester playground protest
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Readmit expelled socialists: a proven record of fighting back
The Socialist Inbox
International socialist news and analysis
Spain: militant struggle by Students Union succeeds
The Socialist 30 November 2016 |
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