Durham teaching assistants vote to strike in long-running battle over pay

Durham teaching assistants vote to strike in long-running battle over pay

Durham teaching assistants have voted to strike in the long-running battle over cuts to their pay. The workers have been locked in a dispute with Durham County Council after they unveiled plans to change term-time pay, claiming that paying them only for hours worked is in the interests of fairness and parity with other council employees. But local staff are fighting the ‘fire and re-hire’ policy which would see 2,700 teaching assistants sacked then re-employed on what they claim are inferior contracts that would result in a 23% pay cut for the majority of them. The council claims the pay reduction would be around 10%. Now UNISON, the union which represents the workers, has announced the teaching assistants have overwhelmingly voted to strike. A ballot opened on October 6 has been completed and resulted in 93% of members who voted opting to walkout. Teaching assistant cuts messages left on placards outside of County Hall, Co Durham UNISON general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “This huge vote has taken place against a backdrop of bullying by councillors, head teachers and church leaders, all of whom should have known better. “These are low-paid women workers who deserve much better from their employer – a Labour council. “Even at this late stage there’s still time for councillors to think again and agree to reverse their decision to slash the pay of these workers by nearly a quarter.” The union accused the council of intimidation during the ballot. Read More Hundreds of Durham teaching assistants attend rally against council's 'fire and re-hire' plans UNISON has notified the council of the decision to take action and will now decide with its teaching assistants the nature of the action they want to take. Durham County Council’s head of education, Caroline O’Neill, said: “We are obviously ver…

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