Unison members working in schools, about 900 of our members in Hackney, will be aware that the previous government created a pay review body called the Schools Support Staff Negotiating Body after many years of campaigning by unions in this area.
The SSSNB was designed to promote consistency and equality of pay and conditions for staff working in support roles in schools in Britain and was set up at the same time as a similar pay review body for teachers in 2009. The new Tory government has abolished the SSSNB as part of its swinging cuts campaign before it was ever able to make a real difference staff working in education.
In a leaked letter sent last month from Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, to Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, concerning the future of a number of government agencies he confirmed
‘Pay Review Bodies
Government values the expertise and independent role of Pay Review Bodies and therefore, in the context of the upcoming spending review and existing pay restraint, although they have been included within the scope of this review no changes are proposed (this is with the exception of the School Support Staff Negotiating Body, in recognition that this workforce is not best served by such a national approach to pay and reward negotiations).’
The letter, published in the Daily Telegraph, belies the Coalition’s promises of fairness being spouted by ministers ad nauseam. The majority of staff affected are women, most are paid for term time working only and on average nationally a teaching assistant earns less than £10000 per annum.
Cristina McAnea, UNISON Head of Education, said:
“This is a bitter blow to the mainly women, overwhelmingly low paid, hard-working and loyal support staff in schools. UNISON will be consulting our members on taking industrial action as a matter of urgency.
“The coalition’s consultation process was a sham. It was obvious the government had made up its mind, right from the beginning, that schools support staff are not worthy of national pay and conditions.
“We are calling for an immediate equality impact assessment, as it is likely this move will hit women hard. The government must also explain how it intends to deliver George Osborne’s headline grabbing, £250 boost for the lowest paid. It is a disgrace that they have so far refused to guarantee this pledge for schools support staff.”
But hey we’re all in this together right? unless of course you’re a low paid education worker then you should just be grateful for whatever Gove and his toadies dish out to you!