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School Support Staff – Summary of meeting held Thursday 21 July 2016

IMG_20160616_084710Nicole Berrisford, UNISON Branch Secretary, welcomed and thanked everyone for all their hard work and laid out the agenda for the meeting.

Sue Bonser, Schools Convenor said we should be celebrating the genuine support and new friendships formed through the shared campaign, reflected on the continued resistance to the harmonisation of Terms and Conditions as well as the Job Evaluation outcomes.

“It is important to remind ourselves and recognise our achievements; that it was through our union, UNISON’s members, that is YOU… That we were able to secure a further delay to Implementation and gain ourselves 5 extra months on full pay from January to June 2016”

Our strength is that this is a member-led campaign organised by a motivated and empowered group of members who will continue to fight to the end.  We are not satisfied with huge cuts to our pay and temporary contracts. We deserve the dignity and security of permanent contracts which recognise our roles and our professional status!

Adrian Morgan, UNISON Regional Organiser, spoke of how the campaign has been noticed and is being followed:

  • the employer has noticed the impact of the action you are taking, and they are noticeable by their silence.
  • special mention was made at UNISON’s National Conference, so all UNISON branches nationally are watching you and pledging support
  • In Durham and Bradford, similar changes are being proposed though Derby is by far the worst and so they are looking at what you are doing to resist and are hoping to replicate your resistance.
  • What you are doing is unique, which is why it is important to keep on doing it.  You have demonstrated that you are not willing to stand by and allow something to happen and have come together and shown strength and solidarity.
  • To rely on the legal argument alone takes time hence why we need this to be a two prong activity.  Legal and Moral.
  • We have an expert legal team, who are looking at all the documents and considering Equal Pay claims and related legal issues. We are in daily contact with our legal team and providing supporting documents.
  • In addition to this, the employer has not met with us for 3 weeks and it appears that they don’t want to talk to us
  • We approached ACAS 2 weeks ago and explained what we have been doing and asked them to get involved as we are committed to doing all we can to try and facilitate a resolve to this matter.
  • By their silence and their actions it is evident DCC are hoping   that you will run out of steam and motivation and return to work and if you allow this to happen, then they have won.
  • A meeting has been scheduled to meet with Durham School support staff and UNISON in Durham to share ideas and mutual support. Links are already in place and many DERBY and Durham workers regularly exchange ideas.
  • We want you over the next 6 weeks holidays to put forward any new ideas of how we can keep the pressure on when we return in September.  Contact the branch and let us know your thoughts.

Future action may include taking the protests away from the council house to other events and locations, we are looking at the details of this for our next full day of action. Political lobbying and media attention will raise the profile of our cause.

If you are approached by media C4 Despatches or BBC Panorama contact us, can we have volunteers who are willing to speak to them

Let’s keep going, let’s keep fighting, to be successful we are in this for the long haul. This campaign highlights what it means to be a UNISON member. URGE your colleagues to join, join you in your action, join UNISON and join this fight!

Julie Walker, UNISON’s Branch Treasurer.

Anyone suffering hardship as a result of taking strike action must contact the branch on an individual basis to request assistance.

This can be done by email, phone or in person from Monday if you have had a deduction made

  • The branch will check that you are a member first before issuing the form.
  • You will need to provide copies  of June/July Payslips
  • There will be drop-in sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 27th July to 29th July, from 10am to 3pm to receive forms and Branch Officers will make themselves available for you. We will not accept forms before Wednesday
  • Payment will need to be authorised by Nicole Berrisford, Branch Secretary and then processed by Branch Treasurer, Julie Walker payments will be  be processed and be in your account as quickly as possible.

The meeting finally concluded with a Question and Answer Session:

Q:        Can we post the hardship claim form if we are on holiday.

A:        Yes scan and email them together to the branch with copies of your payslips.

Q:        Can you email the hardship claim forms out to everyone?

A:        No, individuals must seek support from the branch if they are suffering hardship

Q:        Can employers take it out of one pay cheque or can it come out of different ones?

A:        The cut-off  date for HR to make payments is the 13th of each month, so if you take action after this date, it won’t be in the period you are paid for.  It may take time for Head teachers to identify who took part in strike action and who did not, so therefore, it may come out as and when the head teacher notifies the employer so may well not show until the August payslip.  You should not ask for a hardship form if you have not had any deductions in your July payslip.

Q:        How much clout does ACAS have?

A:        They have no influence, but in the event of a tribunal  claim, the tribunal will ask if ACAS was involved and if we need to demonstrate that we are willing to participate . Having said this, We genuinely are seeking resolution and therefore welcome the opportunity to move matters forward.

Q:        One of the teacher says if we break for the 6 weeks we have to ballot again for strike action.

A:        We are taking discontinuous action, we balloted and notified schools of this, this means that there is no end date and that the action can continue on the basis of one ballot.

This is an accurate summary/reflection of the meeting that took place on Thursday.  

Those who attended have stated how much they appreciated the information, support and felt ready to continue. Many of you have taken intermittent action this last week as it was the last full week of term but we have received emails and messages saying that you are ready to renew the campaign in the autumn. This is what we need to hear. This is your campaign, UNISON are supporting you now and will continue to do so. 

There will be further information released in the next few days.

Please try to be patient if you call the branch on Monday or Tuesday, remember email is an option.

UNISON Derby City Schools Team 

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