- 2005 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 19 June 2005
Conference believes the National Agreement on school remodelling offered the opportunity to develop a career structure for school support staff, a long held aim of UNISON. Today many authorities have agreed new pay and grading structures, but not all. New training opportunities have been developed and many schools, for the first time, are including support staff in school development plans.
Conference notes that following the decisions of the Service Group Conference last year, the Service Group Executive consulted with branches in England and Wales which have members affected by the National Agreement on School Remodelling. The response was clearly in favour of developing a national claim for all school support staff and for continuing to be involved in national negotiations around the agreement.
Conference in particular welcomes the role played by the Welsh Assembly Government in engaging positively with UNISON to ensure that school support staff play a central role in the Welsh Consortia, LEAs and school implementation strategies
However, we recognise that single status negotiations are taking place at the same time as these developments and Conference is appalled that some authorities are trying to use the single status negotiations to worsen the terms and conditions of school staff by putting them onto term time only contracts. There is a lack of consistency across LEAs – for example in the application of the HLTA role where some staff are only paid to perform this role only part of the week. There have also been negative consequences for NNEB qualified nursery nurses as schools only wish to employ staff against the national profiles. NNEB staff see this as a detriment to their professional status and their ability to move to other jobs in education.
However, suspending UNISON’s involvement in the Remodelling Agreement would not help in addressing the above issues but would only result in the Agreement being implemented without UNISON’s involvement. Conference believes it would not be in our member’s interests if UNISON, the largest union for support staff, were not involved, as this would mean decisions affecting our members would be taken mainly by teacher and headteacher unions, the other support staff unions and even the employers.
Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to:
1)Continue to negotiate on issues arising from the National Agreement and to issue clear guidance to members on what the agreement does and does not mean for them
2)Give priority to ensuring that funding is available for a fair pay and grading structure for school staff in every authority
3)Support branches in all their efforts, up to and including industrial action, to resist attempts to worsen the terms and conditions of school support staff
4)Pursue the national claim and fight for legislation and/or an effective negotiating framework, which means national and local agreements produce a structure which is binding on all schools
5)Continue to campaign for an end to discrimination against term-time workers and work with branches that are resisting attempts to worsen the terms and conditions of school support staff by supporting their actions including industrial action taken in accordance with UNISON’s national procedures.
6)Vigorously pursue the necessary changes to the Remodelling Agreement specifically related to Nursery Nurses in order to protect their specific terms and conditions and their professional status.
7)Issue legal advice to Branches on the employment position of school employees in relation to governing bodies and local education authorities
8)Immediately seek to convene a meeting of the signatory unions to the national agreement, include the NUT, with the aim of reviewing the introduction and application of the agreement, and our continued participation in it following the announcement of the NAHT of their withdrawal