County Durham’s teaching assistants have turned down a deal aimed at resolving a long-running pay dispute. 

The dispute, between the teaching assistants and Durham County Council, was triggered by plans the council announced last year to sack its TAs then rehire them on new contracts.

The new contracts would have meant the teaching assistants were only paid for the hours they worked during term times and not for holiday periods, resulting in some TAs losing up to £5,000 a year from their already modest salaries.

Following strike action by the TAs, the council announced it would reconsider its position and it recently offered a new deal. 

This compromise would have regraded some TAs in order to lessen the impact of the wage cuts. The worst affected TAs would have been compensated for two years after the introduction of the term-time only payments. 

The plans to dismiss and rehire the TAs would also have been scrapped. 

But this deal has now been rejected in a ballot of Unison members. Unison is the union that represents the majority of the teaching assistants.

A Unison spokesperson commented, “We have had a democratic vote and the majority of those that took part rejected the council’s revised offer.” 

“Our members still have significant concerns about the additional hours they were being asked to work and also the compensation offered those that would be worst affected.”

“We remain willing to negotiate with the council and would urge them to get back round the table with us as soon as possible.”

Durham County Council’s director of corporate resources, John Hewitt, said, “We recognise the result of the Unison ballot.”

“We will continue to work with the recognised trade unions to consider our next steps and how we move forward.”

(Featured image courtesy of meesh, from Flickr Creative Commons)




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