UNISON is set to ballot its members over a new offer made by the Council to teaching assistants and other support staff.
The negotiated proposal follows two weeks of intensive and positive discussions with union officials. It is the latest attempt to try and resolve the long-running pay dispute and associated strikes, which have closed schools and caused widespread disruption and inconvenience for children and parents.
This is the fourth offer made by the Council during the course of the dispute. A £2m package is being proposed to fund payments to staff who have lost income as a result of the Council-wide pay review implemented last year. Information on the background to the dispute can be found in the FAQ’s below.
Payments would vary according to individual circumstances. Some teaching assistants who have experienced the largest salary cuts would be entitled to a one-off sum of up to £5,500.
A full copy of the latest Council offer can be seen here. *
The three previous Council offers (including the last one worth £1.1m in total) were all rejected by UNISON, which has also turned down repeated requests to suspend strike action.
Around 1,200 school support staff who are UNISON members will now be balloted on whether to accept the offer. Both the Council and union officials are urging every one of them to exercise their right to vote.
Councillor Baggy Shanker, Cabinet member for Finance & Governance, said:
“We have been holding positive discussions with UNISON, with a strong desire to resolve the challenging dispute affecting teaching assistants and school based support staff.
“The Council is doing everything it possibly can to achieve a settlement, and we have made a new offer. I am pleased that UNISON has agreed to put it to its members.
“I urge all UNISON members to exercise their right to vote in this ballot.
“We acknowledge the difficult financial circumstances experienced by some staff as a result of the pay review. Once again, we wish to put on record our recognition of the valuable contribution made by teaching assistants and support staff in all our schools. Many children and parents benefit from the support and friendship of teaching assistants – the close bonds enabling children to flourish in school.
“I have personally asked that the strike action be suspended whilst the ballot takes place but unfortunately, UNISON has rejected my request. I regret the further disruption this will cause to children, parents and our schools.”
Published: Thursday 16th March, 2017
UPDATE: Friday 17th March, 2017 – *The offer published yesterday has been superseded by a more recent offer. A copy of this will be available in due course.