The Trade Union Bill and my job: Alyson’s story

My name is Alyson and I’m a midday assistant in a special school

“My job involves looking after and feeding children with special needs at lunchtime for an hour and a half in term time.

“I love this kind of work because I feel valued in my employment and the school couldn’t do it without us.

“The best part of my job is the fact that these children need us. They ask us for nothing except to be fed and treated with respect and dignity. They deserve that much.

“I can’t think of a worst day in my three-and-a-half years, but sometimes it can be challenging with some children having autism and behaviour issues.

“I don’t agree with agency workers being drafted in if I go on strike because of safety issues. We have to be trained in hoisting disabled children, and each child has a feeding programme that must be adhered too.

“A lot of the children I work with wear pads which have to be changed. There is a lot physical contact, so therefore we all have to be CRB checked, can we say the same for all agency workers?

“Consistency is also important to autistic children. They don’t cope well with change so unfamiliar people coming in for a day here and there is not a good idea.

“I also feel that my right to strike is an important one. There is no point going on strike if it dosen’t affect anyone. That’s the idea, isn’t it? So filling our places with agency workers defeats the object.

“We don’t get a lot of pay for the work we do. And it might only be an hour and a half a day but we never stop the whole time.

“Yes, we get all the school holidays, which is nice, but what people don’t realise is, we don’t get paid for them: we only earn in term time.”