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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:


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Italy: Establishment routed - workers alternative needed

Portugal: No to witch-hunts - fight the capitalists not socialists

Austria: Far right temporarily halted

Sudan: General strike in defiance of regime


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Related links:

Durham:

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

triangleLots of discussions at the Miners Gala on the way forward

triangleNewcastle: fresh faces and the fight in Labour

triangleSocialists tell free marketeers "the pitchforks are coming" in Durham debate

triangleExcellent Socialist Party trade union meeting

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triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleNHS - build the fightback

Labour:

triangleNo fudge with the right wing

triangleBuilding support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

triangleHaringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

Cuts:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: A strategy to defeat the cuts

triangleScene set for TUSC conference electoral debate

Council:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: When Liverpool council defied the Tories

Single status:

triangleDerby TAs to strike against pay cut

Review:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

Unison:

triangleThreat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

Unions:

triangleNHS we're ready to fight

Union:

triangleUnison national women's conference

Teaching assistants:

triangleNewham academy strikes spread to Cumberland school

Strike:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: Save our NHS - the lessons of the Barts strike

Teesside:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: The National Question

Trade unions:

trianglePCS executive agrees next steps in pay campaign

Socialist Party:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: 100 years since women won the right to vote

Schools:

triangleTeachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

Socialist:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Organising tenants in the private rented sector

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