School support staff in academies to be balloted for strike action

Tens of thousands of teaching assistants and school support staff are set to be balloted for strike action, when the largest ever national ballot of academy school staff opens today (Wednesday 10 September).

The bottom rate of pay for school support workers is the lowest in the public sector.

UNISON members in most academies in England which are subject to national bargaining arrangements, are being balloted over this year’s pay offer which gives 90% of staff just 1%. An additional sum is being paid to the lowest paid, to prevent them falling below the National Minimum Wage.*

The ballot follows strike action on 10 July by local government and school support workers not employed by academies.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

 “It is a scandal that this year’s pay offer represents just a few pennies an hour for most school support staff.  

“It might do enough to ensure that pay rates remain above the minimum wage, but it does nothing to ensure that school staff can meet the ever increasing prices of household bills and everyday essentials.

‘We are urging the employers to get back to the table and negotiate a fair pay rise for our members.”

The ballot of 40,000 members will close on 24 September and a yes vote will lead to strike action.


Notes to Editors

* The National Minimum Wage is currently £6.31, and is set to rise to £6.50 on 1 October 2014.