Durham teaching assistants strike suspended to allow time for talks

Three days strike action this week (6 – 8 December) by Durham teaching assistants have been called off to allow time for further talks aimed at settling the dispute, says UNISON.

The union is keen for urgent progress to end the long-running dispute with the county council over the proposed move to term-time contracts.

But following the announcement last week that the council would be suspending its plans to dismiss and re-employ the teaching assistants on new contracts from January, UNISON decided this was enough to suspend the strikes this week.

UNISON regional secretary Clare Williams said: “It’s good news that Durham County Council is now willing to negotiate. Clearly the strong determination of teaching assistants to take action has brought the council to the negotiating table.

“Disputes can only ever be resolved by talking through the issues and problems. But hopefully now a way can be found to avoid school support staff having to suffer life-changing pay cuts.

“That’s why this week’s action has been called off. But if it looks like no progress is being made, there may well be more strikes in the new year.”

Notes to editors:
– Teaching assistants were due to take three days of strike action this week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – and only work their contracted hours on other days.

Media contacts:
Allison Jackson T: 0191 245 0805 M: 07852 292864 E: a.jackson2@unison.co.uk
Alan Weaver T:  0207 121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E: a.weaver@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk