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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 December 2016

Durham TAs force Labour to suspend pay cuts

Durham's striking teaching assistants have forced the city's Labour council to suspend massive pay cuts, photo by Durham TAs

Durham's striking teaching assistants have forced the city's Labour council to suspend massive pay cuts, photo by Durham TAs   (Click to enlarge)

Alan Docherty, Teesside Socialist Party

Durham teaching assistants (TAs) have won a significant battle in their campaign to prevent Labour-controlled Durham council from cutting their pay by up to 23%. The immediate threat to dismiss all TAs, members of Unison and teaching union ATL, and reemploy them on worse conditions from 1 January 2017 has been suspended.

Four days of strike action have forced the council back to the negotiating table.

Unison called off the next round of planned strikes, due to commence on 1 December.

Jubilant

The council will now re-enter negotiations with the recognised trade unions to try to find a settlement by a new deadline of 1 September 2017.

Staff are jubilant about their victory, but very cautious too that the threat of pay cuts has not been lifted.

The council has laid down its conditions that it is undertaking "a review of teaching assistants' role, function, job description, and activities within the breadth of school activities to establish whether current job descriptions adequately describe the role being undertaken by TAs in schools. This review will not reopen the single status agreement currently in place."

Such a review is likely to lead to winners and losers. Possibly some new higher graded posts will be introduced and staff will be divided as they compete for these 'promotions'.

Wrong

There is something seriously wrong with Durham council's pay and grading structure for TAs. They earn thousands of pounds less than those in neighbouring authorities, even before the current attack on their pay.

One of the reasons TAs remained employed on full-time contracts was to compensate them for such a low grade delivered through job evaluation for single status.

There must be recognition that job evaluation (single status) must be reopened. Both the unions and management must admit that they got it wrong. All the TAs should be re-graded up to a level commensurate with other authorities and no one should lose any pay.

Durham TAs have to stay vigilant and engage in the running of their union to ensure no sell out.

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In The Socialist 7 December 2016:


What we think

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Related links:

Durham:

triangleDurham Miners' Gala

triangleSolid strike by Arriva bus drivers

triangleDurham Miners' Gala 2018

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

triangleLots of discussions at the Miners Gala on the way forward

Pay:

triangleSupport uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

triangleTesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action

triangleSage care home workers' pay victory

trianglePanasonic workers strike against pay freeze

Labour:

triangleNewham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

triangleAn appeal to trade union members to stand as anti-cuts candidates

triangleCWU conference debates the union's political strategy

Cuts:

triangleNorthampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts

triangleSlough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless

Council:

triangleWest Sussex: Payouts for council bosses, cuts for us

Single status:

triangleNewham council tax workers' pay victory

Review:

triangleJohn Barnes on class and capitalism. What's missing?

Unison:

triangleWho runs Unison: lay members or the paid officials?

Unions:

triangleCOP26: Trade unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables

Union:

triangleWhat did you think of Socialism 2021?

Teaching assistants:

triangle"I'm here to fight for the future education of children in Hackney"

Strike:

triangleRMT to strike in night-tube dispute

Teesside:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: Why we need socialist change to combat climate change

Trade unions:

triangleFight for a socialist recovery

Socialist Party:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: How can we fight to end violence against women and sexism?

Schools:

triangleCricket's history of racism and elitism

School:

triangleSchool staff need a pay rise

Socialist:

triangleSelling the Socialist

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