In a recent article in the Guardian newspaper about the unfair treatment of teaching assistants in Durham, it was alleged that UNISON had been slow to act in supporting them.
UNISON has sent a response to the Guardian highlighting the work we have been doing for members.
Ever since Durham County Council announced the move to term-time contracts earlier this year, UNISON has been working tirelessly – both behind the scenes and in public – to win a better deal for teaching assistants.
UNISON has visited schools across the county, speaking to teaching assistants about how the proposed changes would affect them. We have made sure their views have been central to negotiations with the council, and kept them informed of any developments.
The union balloted its teaching assistant members in the spring on the council’s original offer, which was overwhelming rejected.
As a result of the negotiations, the council has now made a new offer. Next week UNISON will be balloting all the 1,700 teaching assistants in the county who belong to the union. If that offer is rejected, there will be a ballot for strike action.
Since the dispute began, almost 500 teaching assistants in Durham have joined UNISON, recognising what we are trying to achieve for them.
The union is also fighting on behalf of hundreds of teaching assistants in Derby, where the council similarly wants to cut pay. Those members will be lobbying MPs next week, fully supported by UNISON.