Socialist Worker

New pay offer is not what the Durham teaching assistants deserve

Issue No. 2574

Durham teaching assistants won huge support throughout their dispute

Durham teaching assistants won huge support throughout their dispute (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Durham Council is hoping to end the Durham teaching assistants (TAs) dispute with a “new” pay offer.

But the Unison union members are divided over whether to accept it—with some saying it’s no improvement on the deal they strongly rejected in July.

The local Unison branch is urging workers to accept the deal. But many TAs have taken to social media to voice their concerns.

And the TA committee is split over whether to accept the deal.

Their official Twitter account was keen to remind everyone that nothing has yet been agreed by the TAs and a ballot date hasn’t been set.

Many are frustrated that a Labour council is implementing the cuts and want to see words about anti-austerity turned into action.

The new deal means that almost 500 TAs will lose pay, some almost £4,000 a year.


Others will keep the same pay but will have to work 18 hours extra a week to maintain it.

The council has produced the sop of offering a “progression board” made up of council officers, head teachers, union officers and TAs.

But TAs don’t want spurious offers of extra training.

They want and deserve protection from pay cuts and extra hours.

The strength of the TA dispute lies in their unity, the mass picket lines and big demonstrations.

Their best option is continuing the campaign and renewing strikes.

The courageous Durham TAs have forced Unison into action and been an example to the whole of the trade union movement.

After a two-year dispute they should not accept a deal that attacks their pay and conditions.

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