UNISON is to campaign for school workers across the UK to be employed during every week of the year, local government delegates in Brighton declared this afternoon.
Delegate after delegate pointed out that the vast majority of school workers employed on so-called term-time contracts are women, effectively paid for just 10 months of the year.
But as Nuala Conlon of Northern Ireland reminded delegates: “We all live 12 months of the year, and people want to live – not just exist.”
And national secretary Jon Richards pointed to disputes involving teaching assistants in Derby and Durham, “where staff face huge pay cuts” after being moved to term-time contracts, something he described simply as “morally wrong”.
It had been a “full year” across the various education sectors, said Mr Richards, with pay cuts, privatisation and schools being pushed into academy chains in England.
But there were bright spots, he said – such national negotiations for further education in Scotland, or leading the way on professional registration in Wales – and the union is recruiting again growing again across education and children’s services.