It has never been disputed by Derby City Council that the Teaching Assistants have lost considerable money in the Equal Pay Review / Changes to Terms and Conditions process; the issue is that the Council maintain that they can’t afford to pay them their original salary. In view of this, it is difficult to explain why the Joint Acting Head Teachers of Lakeside Community primary school, on 14th October, decided to publish a contradictory statement to all Parents / carers. They tried to suggest that, on average, all TAs in the school had seen a 5.7% pay gain.
This achieved the objective of confusing parents, fuelling resentment against the TAs, and upsetting nearly everyone….on something which actually bears no scrutiny.
What was said?
The key part of the document states:
“…many of the staff who have gone through the Equal pay review have either been re-graded to a higher pay band and/or been offered additional hours”
In addition you might like to be aware that:
68% of TAs have had a pay rise
Our TAs have had on average a pay gain of 5.7%
1.Either by reference to my article “Teaching Assistant dispute: simple explanation of the Council’s pay omnishambles!” or the Council’s own FAQ page, it will confirm that ALL TAs who have had their pay cut by 25% due to changes in Terms and Conditions. This is a simple mathematical calculation, and is not disputed.
2. TAs were on a 32.5 hr/ week contract which expected significant additional unpaid overtime, that effectively “bought” the 6 weeks school holiday. The new T&C’s mean that no overtime is paid, even though it’s still worked. To help offset the 25% shortfall for some staff, they have been given additional temporary hrs – typically 4.5 hrs to make up to 37 hrs/week. This will end in March 2017, and is not considered permanent for the purposes of mortgages, loans etc. For the short term this recovers ~14% for those who it is offered to.
3. Unrelated to the Terms and Conditions, some staff have been re-graded to correct past errors. This is not a function of the Equal Pay review, but something that should have been implemented years ago and those staff have lost alot of money by not being paid correctly, previously. For those staff who have been subject to this correction, will have recovered some of the 25% loss ….~6% due to this.
- some staff have seen 25% cuts,
- some 11% ( to be 25% cuts from April 2017), and
- some 5% cuts (to be 19% cuts from April 2017)
There is no calculation that gives a net pay rise.
Analysis of the Lakeside document.
There are 31 TAs at Lakeside, and it is claimed that 21 of them have seen a pay rise (68%). In order for the average of the whole population to be 5.7% then the minimum pay rise must be 8.4% (mathematically), for the 21. As the 10 would have had a pay reduction then, logically, all 21 would have had to have seen pay rises of at least 10-15%. This is not sensible, or real – it does not bear scrutiny.
Comments from Lakeside.
I sent an email providing this basic analysis to the 2 Acting Heads, and asked for some answers. When I contacted the office, I was told that they would not be responding and that they had sent it to Derby City Council for a reply. As I was speaking on the phone the person at Lakeside just hung up on me. I have contacted them again giving them a further chance to clarify, and to confirm who, in Derby City Council would be replying – no answer!
The TAs have been subject to pay cuts of up to 25%, some of this has been mitigated until March 2017 – there is zero commitment to hold it beyond that date. The Lakeside document is incorrect.
The behaviour of Lakeside is indicative of external influence. It is extremely unlikely that Head Teachers would issue a letter which totally undermines the legitimate industrial action of its staff when the dispute is with the Council, and not the Head Teachers.
One parent described it as “a low blow from the school to their colleagues when they should be supporting them!”
Another one said:
“I was disgusted . There are a lot of parents who don’t understand fully what has happened. I believe that letter was sent out to incite anger against the TAs – the backlash in social media was awful. The timing of that letter was also key – they sent out that letter followed by the next strike dates !! Just to get that extra effect !! The TAs are a crucial part of our and any other school . The school closes when they are on strike !!! They deserve better .”
..and these were typical of others that I received.
It is fairly evident that Lakeside were “encouraged” to issue this by Derby City Council as part of their array of tactics to subvert the strike action. They never expected it to go on for this long, and for the support to have gathered so much momentum within the City, and nationally. Every time the Council try a different tactic it only further increases the resolve and fight of the TAs.
Categories: Teaching Assistant Dispute