Socialist Worker

Teaching assistants

Issue No. 1931

TEACHING ASSISTANTS in Brighton and Hove are set to strike on Friday of this week as part of their ongoing campaign against low pay.

“We’re determined to go on until we get a decent result. In fact we’re more determined than before,” says Alex Knutsen, branch secretary of Brighton and Hove Unison.

Over 40 schools in Brighton and Hove were closed last month when about 700 teaching assistants in the Unison and GMB unions struck for two days.

There has been no movement from employers since then, and the council has tried to intimidate strikers by rushing through pay deductions for the two days of industrial action, says Alex.

But Unison has promised to send out payments to reimburse the strikers.

The teaching assistants’ action was sparked by Brighton and Hove council’s decision to only pay them for 44 weeks a year.

This move virtually wipes out a pay increase promised to them under the government’s schools remodelling programme.

Alex stresses the national significance of the Brighton and Hove dispute. “We’re first up,” he says. “A lot of other branches are going to face the same thing.”

The teaching assistants also plan to strike on 6 January next year, the first full day of term.

Send messages of support and donations to Brighton and Hove Unison, Town Hall, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1JA.

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Sat 11 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1931
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