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Important School Support Staff Action Update – Wednesday 7 December 2016

Today we have issued notice to your employer for further Industrial Action.

Following the last period of Industrial Action on 20 and 21 October and following interventions from senior Labour Party figures, it was agreed on 23 October to enter into discussions with your employer. Therefore we agreed, as a goodwill gesture, to pause taking action as (scheduled for 31 October, 1 November and 2 November) to allow discussions with the employer to commence.

Negotiations continued for 3 weeks intensively. We were limited in communicating directly during this time as mindful of jeopardising negotiations with sensitive information. To aid our discussions we made better our Stewards network in schools and engaged with this group regularly. If you are working in a school without a UNISON Steward, we would urge you to either nominate yourself or a colleague as a way of keeping fully up to date.

Derby City Council presented a revised offer. We agreed whatever the offer we would ballot members. The offer was improved on the previous offer and had additional monies being added to it. We weren’t able to recommend the offer as a good offer as we knew that it was still not an offer which would apply to all members.

As you know we ran an indicative ballot of all affected members. We were keen not to delay matters with a protracted timetable for consulting and therefore determined a tight timeframe.

90% rejected the revised offer. When we balloted we made clear that in rejecting that would mean you would have to take further action. This gave UNISON locally a clear mandate on next steps.

We met with Derby City Council on 29 November to present the result of our indicative ballot. We then discussed a further potential resolution which is compensation for the loss in weeks from moving to Term Time working. This is a legal argument which we have presented to Derby City Council as our legal team believe your employer can legally justify this payment. We are waiting for their response from your employer.

We are also concerned about the way that grading has been evaluated by HAY. UNISON locally are meeting with HAY on Thursday 8 December to better understand the scoring.

Locally we are clear, from feedback via our UNISON Schools Stewards, that you would like to take action to show the strength of feeling and not to allow your employer too long to reconsider any further revisions to the offer.

UNISON members are struggling to make ends meet ahead of Christmas, it’s more important than ever that there’s a real solution to this dispute as quickly as possible We have asked that Derby City Council remains talking with us. It is only by talking that we will find a solution.

However it has been determined by members that we are taking action. Therefore this needs to be bigger and more effective than action taken previously. We have consulted with UNISON Schools Stewards on what action is considered most effective. It is considered that we need to take action for more than 2 days to maximise the disruption.

Therefore we have notified your employer of the following:

Wednesday 14 December all day
Thursday 15 December all day

Monday 19 December all day
Tuesday 20 December all day

This would be followed in the new year with action on the first week of term:

Wednesday 4 January all day
Thursday 5 January all day

You have campaigned successfully to convince your employer to talk with your local UNISON negotiating team. This resulted in a revised offer. You have rejected this offer therefore the next steps is to take further Industrial Action. To convince your employer to further improve the revised offer you will need to be much stronger in your action.

Derby City Council should stop playing hard ball, and show School Support Staff it values your hard work and the crucial role you play in schools. We know that you hate inconveniencing children, colleagues and parents but feel there is no other way to make the council fully try to resolve this dispute.

As always UNISON are committed to fully supporting you and your families. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact our office on or 01332 643216.

UNISON Schools Team

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