Breakthrough for teaching assistants in Durham, says UNISON

UNISON has today (Wednesday) welcomed Durham County Council’s decision to change its plans to dismiss and rehire several thousand teaching assistants in the North East.

After months of negotiations and several strikes last year, which brought the council back to the table, a revised offer has now been proposed, says UNISON.

UNISON Northern regional secretary Clare Williams said: “Several months of tough talking later, a revised and improved offer has been proposed that will benefit the majority of teaching assistants.

“Strikes and relentless campaigning by dedicated teaching assistants, along with the support of the community, have been crucial in moving the council from its original position.

“Dismissing, rehiring and cutting the pay of so many education professionals would have risked many quitting their jobs. That would have had a huge impact in the classroom.

“Both sides have worked hard to reach agreement over the past few months. The union is absolutely committed to continuing to work with the council to secure the best possible outcome for everyone.”

UNISON will now be seeking the views of its teaching assistants, and the ballot on the offer opens on Monday.

Note to editors:
– Under the offer there will be a new grading structure for teaching assistants, which will benefit the overwhelming majority of those who belong to UNISON. It also includes an agreement that there will be a flexible approach to any increase in hours worked.

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