All Around the UK subcategories:
UK Towns and cities keywords:
Derby teaching assistants accept offer to end pay dispute
Ian Hunter, Derby Socialist Party
Following negotiations and a ballot of Unison members the Derby teaching assistants' dispute ended on 5 April. The members voted nine-to-one to accept the offer from Derby council.
The turnout for the ballot was 38%. A three-part deal has been struck between the council, schools and teaching support staff.
The teaching assistants have been in dispute with the Labour council since last summer following changes in contracts which resulted in severe cuts (up to 25%) in pay and movement to term-time working. Over the past nine months there has been a huge escalation by the workers and their supporters with a series of demonstrations and strikes steadily increasing from one-day to five-day actions and lastly an indefinite walkout.
The three-point deal includes:
- Reintroduction of "flexible 52-week contracts for school support staff", to be negotiated and in place for 1 September.
- A one-off compensation payment for wages lost following contract changes from the 'Fair Pay' review. According to councillor Baggy Shankar the council will make £1.5 million available (a slight increase on last year's offer), but the highest amount anyone will receive will be limited to £2,750.
- Council, Unison and schools will work on a 'project' looking at the structures of schools, the role of teaching assistants, and possible changes. This is thought likely to only affect special schools, but may affect job titles, grading, and pay.
The council has said that the £1.5 million compensation package will not mean cuts in other areas. Derby council has already announced cuts of £14 million for this year.
While forcing concessions, the deal will be regarded by some as disappointing and unsatisfactory, particularly the derisory compensation payment and lack of job security.
The long struggle against Derby council has been a huge learning experience for the teaching assistants in many ways, and the solidarity they have shown will be tested in coming months during negotiations on the flexible 52-week year.
27 May Reckless, lying cheats
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206
Regional Socialist Party organisers:
Eastern: 079 8202 1969
East Mids: 077 3797 8057
London: 07748 534 891
North East: 078 4114 4890
North West 079 5437 6096
South West: 077 5979 6478
Southern: 078 3368 1910
Wales: 079 3539 1947
West Mids: 024 7655 5620
Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041