Teaching assistants (TAs) employed by Labour-run Durham County Council were waiting for the result of their strike ballot against pay cuts this week.
The council plans to sack all 2,700 of its teaching assistants by 31 December and rehire them on worse contracts that mean less money for more hours.
Under the new contracts, TAs who work an extra 4.5 hours a week will still face a 10 percent pay cut.
Those who remain on their present hours will see their pay fall by more than 20 percent.
After months of union inaction, TAs forced Unison to fight. The union’s general secretary Dave Prentis spoke at a TAs’ rally last week and afterwards pledged, “I will be back in Durham, joining the picket lines on the first day of industrial action and I know the whole of our union will give their support and solidarity”.
The strike ballot was the result of rank and file pressure on its regional and national leadership.
The TAs now need massive solidarity to win this very important fight.