Socialist Worker

Bitterness over single status

Issue No. 2038

Workers on strike at Holbrook school in Coventry last week (Pic: Coventry Unison)

Workers on strike at Holbrook school in Coventry last week (Pic: Coventry Unison)


Teaching assistants, school support staff and parking attendants in Coventry struck for three days last week.

The workers, members of the Unison union, are protesting against sweeping changes to pay and conditions under the single status pay package imposed on them in June 2005.

The package left 1,500 staff losing up to £9,000 a year.

Unison negotiator Richard Harty said that the mood among his members was “still very angry”.

The teaching assistants have been working closely with parents to keep them informed. The workers received positive support as they stood outside school gates handing out leaflets explaining the strike.

Experience

Ann Hill, has nearly 30 years’ experience as a nursery nurse and is one of those losing out under single status. She said, “I’m losing hundreds of pounds but some people are losing thousands.

“I felt I was not appreciated. I’ve worked in schools since I was 18 and I absolutely love it. When the new pay came through I must admit it made me cry. It just completely threw me.”

Learning mentor Tracy Reeder said, “We feel we’re not being listened to by the council. Our issue is with the council.”

Neil Swatman from Unison told Socialist Worker, “The determination of our members should send a clear message to our employers that enough is enough.

“It is about time the council started to take this issue seriously.

“The attacks on our members’ pay and conditions are unacceptable. Investment in public services should start with investment in staff.”


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