Council's pay offer for teaching assistants rejected

Unison has announced its teaching assistant members in County Durham have 'overwhelmingly rejected' Durham County Council's revised offer in a long running dispute over pay cuts. They have been protesting over plans to pay teaching assistants for term-time only. Unison represents the majority of the 2700 teaching assistants involved.

Teaching assistants have been protesting outside County Hall in Durham Credit: ITV

The revised offer suggested to teaching assistants was two years of compensation as opposed to one. Unison has said that a ballot will now be held over potential strike action.

“Teaching assistants are angry at the way the council has behaved, threatening to sack them if they don’t sign new contracts.

“These are dedicated and committed individuals who are already on low wages. Many can barely make ends meet as it is.

“Striking is a last resort but these low-paid employees feel they have no choice but to consider taking action. Teaching assistants make a real difference in the classroom — teachers couldn’t teach without them and parents value them. It’s a pity the county council appears not to recognise their worth too.

“UNISON is fully behind the teaching assistants, whatever course of action they choose to take.”

– UNISON northern regional secretary Clare Williams

The GMB Union represents around 500 teaching assistants. Their members have voted to accept the revised offer by 53.5% to 46.5% on a turnout of around 74%. The union says they will not ballot over strike action but look to have discussions with Unison and Durham County Council over how to proceed.