County Durham Trades Union Council
MEDIA RELEASE 06 June 2016
County Durham Teaching Assistants (#ValueUs) and County Durham Trades Union (CDTUC) to stage joint solidarity rally in opposition to council decision to sack 2,700 staff and slash pay by 25%
This event will take place on Thursday 9th June 2016, at 19.00 (registration will open at 18.00) at the Durham Miners’ Hall, Flass St, Durham, County Durham DH1 4BE
Durham Trades Union Council will host and chair a public meeting in support of County Durham Teaching Assistants, who are currently fighting against Durham County Council’s controversial decision to fire and rehire thousands of staff on vastly reduced terms, which will see many facing up to a 25% pay cut.
The purpose of this event is to support the existing Teaching Assistants grassroots campaign #ValueUs, which has been running since the council announced its plans last October.
This event will bring together local community groups, teachers, unions, parents, pupils and local MPs, who have made the decision to unite in opposition to this attack on a low paid and predominantly female workforce.
Keynote speakers include Davy Hopper, General Secretary of Durham Miners’ Association, John Gilmore (NUT), Gillian Iveson, Lisa Turnbull, Claire Reed and Anne Richardson (Teaching Assistants and #ValueUs campaign organisers).
CDTUC Secretary, Ben Sellers, said:
As many other people in the wider labour movement have stated, the way County Durham’s teaching assistants have been treated is nothing short of disgraceful.
County councillors will say there is nothing to be done, but many of us feel that when low paid workers are facing pay cuts of up to 25%, there has to be a better solution and we are determined to ensure that negotiations between the council and unions continue until they find it.
But, devastating though these cuts are, it’s not all a tale of woe; what we have witnessed in the determination and organisational ability of these Teaching Assistants is in the tradition of the best of our movement. They’re an inspiration.
Teaching Assisatant and #ValueUs campaign organiser, Gillian Iveson, said:
This event is incredibly important to our campaign because we need to get the truth out to the public. This is not simply a dispute about holiday pay as some would like to think. We are full time employees being forced into part-time contracts with part-time wages. We work above and beyond our contract on a daily basis and this cut is kick in the teeth to those of us who have dedicated years of service out of a love for the job we do and the children we care for.
Teaching Assistant and #ValueUs campaign organiser, Anne Richardson, said:
Having been truly inspired by the vigour and impact that Durham Teaching Assistants have achieved thus far through their own determination and efforts to highlight the catastrophic life changing measures being forced upon them, I feel this event is a vital stage in the growth and development of the TA’s campaign, as it is increasing public awareness of the real tragedies in this story. The Teaching Assistants’ voices are going to be heard and more importantly listened to, as they gain the support of other unions at both county and national level.
General Secretary, Durham Miners’ Association, Davy Hopper said:
Education is one of the most important public services we have and frankly it is unbelievable that a Labour Authority is behaving in this way. They should immediately start renegotiating with the Teaching Assistants and sort out this mess. My solidarity is with the Teaching Assistants.
Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, said:
“I whole-heartedly oppose the decision by Durham County Council to substantially cut the income of low paid teaching assistants and I’m frankly appalled they would use such an abhorrent practice of dismissing and re-engaging, in order to impose a new contract.”
Notes to editors:
- For further information about this event please contact:
Kathryne Wray (Press and Communications, CDTUC) 07946719668 firstname.lastname@example.org
- County Durham Trades Union Council (CDTUC)
CDTUC is a registered branch of the Trades Union Congress and works to bring together unions to work and campaign around issues affecting working people in their local workplaces and communities. Our aim is to raise public awareness of rights at work and the union role in enforcing those rights; promote organising and recruitment drives to build union membership; and support union and community campaigns for dignity and respect in the workplace and beyond.
For further information about CDTUC please contact:
Ben Sellers, Secretary, email@example.com
- #ValueUs – County Durham Teaching Assistants – campaign group
For more information about this grassroots campaign please contact:
Gillian Iveson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07580562837