School support staff will stage a city centre love-in today (Wednesday) to remind shoppers and workers out on their lunch breaks that the pay dispute with the council is far from over.
The staff are taking action again this week over changes to their contracts imposed by councillors, which have seen teaching assistants lose up to a quarter of their pay. That’s as much as £6,000 a year, says their union UNISON.
The lunchtime plan for today is to invite members of the public to join a school support staff ‘love-in’. The aim is to show the city council how much teaching assistants are valued by parents, pupils and teachers alike.
The stunt takes place for an hour from 12.30pm outside the council offices in Corporation Street, and coincides with the start of the TUC’s national heartunions week.
It includes dancing, huge inflatable hearts and balloons. Passers-by will be asked to sign a giant pledge card urging councillors to restart negotiations to end the dispute.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This week school support staff are continuing their fight for a fair deal. They desperately want the dispute to be over so they can get back to doing the jobs they love and support the children they care for.
“They hate the thought that parents and pupils are facing disruption, but believe the ball is very definitely in the council’s court. This dispute can be solved, but only through the two sides getting together and talking.
“Communities across Derby have supported these well-loved staff since they first took action last June. It’s time councillors started listening to their residents and agreed to pay their staff an amount they can actually live on.”
Notes to editors:
– The event will take place between 12.30pm and 1.30pm outside
Council House, Corporation St, Derby DE1 2FS.
– Heartunions week is an annual event to celebrate and showcase the work unions do to support working people.
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