Durham Council leaders: This is not fitting conduct for Labour Party members

Teaching Assistants in County Durham hold a protest outside County Hall in Durham over proposals to cut their pay.

Teaching Assistants in County Durham hold a protest outside County Hall in Durham over proposals to cut their pay.

Durham’s overwhelmingly Labour-run county council seems determined to fire 2,700 teaching assistants, only to re-hire them on humiliatingly miserly contracts.

The penny-pinching move would deprive staff members of up to a quarter of their annual pay.

Worse than that, though: It would deprive teaching assistants of any confidence in their employers.

This behaviour is inappropriate in members of the Labour Party.

It displays a callous disregard of the needs of people who spend their entire working lives supporting the next generation of Durham’s population.

Not only that, but the money paid to them goes into – and supports – the local economy. Cutting it back means harming the county’s balance sheet.

And who will be next for the chop? Teachers? It could be argued (wrongly) that they only work the same hours as teaching assistants. Why not cut their pay too?

Or – here’s a good one – a group of people who work only a handful of hours every week, and take a whole month off in the middle of the year, but are paid at least £13,300, no matter what:

County councillors.

Durham County Council looks set to push ahead with plans to terminate the contracts of 2,700 members of staff in an unprecedented move following a row over terms and conditions.

Council bosses have recommended a proposal to dismiss and re-engage all of the teaching assistants working across County Durham, re-employing them under new term time only contracts which unions say will leave staff out of pocket by up to 25%.

This comes at the end of a long running dispute and Unison representatives say staff may take industrial action over the plans.

Source: Durham Council to vote on firing and re-hiring 2,700 members of staff over contract dispute – Chronicle Live


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11 thoughts on “Durham Council leaders: This is not fitting conduct for Labour Party members

  1. autismandate

    This is similar to Norfolk CC Labour agenda to cut personal budgets for disabilities. Which appears to be the consensus agenda of all Local Authorities of Labour and Tory to follow the Iain Duncan Smith pogrom.

  2. Phil Lee

    This behaviour is inappropriate in ANY employer, much less a public one.
    Clearly, those councillors don’t actually want any support from unions, or the funding they provide for election expenses, so they should be expelled from the party if they go ahead with this.

  3. chrischaz

    Even though it is a Labour run town hall and council….the directives to ‘save money’ come from central government….all town halls and councils are struggling to save millions…..impossible!!!

  4. Jenny Hambidge

    Couldn’t have anything to do with cuts from central govt could it. Our council has covered it differently -don’t assess pupils with extra needs if possible, and so nobody has to have a teaching assistant in the classroom.

  5. roybeiley

    This is the thin edge of the wedge if it goes ahead. My son is a Unison negotiator for school support staff elsewhere but is becoming more and more involved in defending the rights of such staff in the light of inadequate funding and the attacks being mounted by Academised schools.Current example is a school which employs rookie teachers and has to rely on the experience of its Teaching Assistants who have been there 10 to 15 years to provide educational continuity! Sick.

  6. chriskitcher

    If a Labour controlled council is prepared to do this what hope is there for the UK?

    Let this be an example of what will happen to wages if the UK leaves the EU and has to compete in global markets.

  7. plhepworth

    Labour Councils should make the Government imposed cuts in areas that bring home to the public what the Government is doing, eg, by reducing refuse collection, road repairs, etc.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That is happening, but I don’t think the message is getting through.
      The Conservative Government wanted to pass the burden of cuts onto councils – particularly councils run by the Labour Party – and watch the public blame Labour for Tory cruelty. That is pretty much what has happened.
      In this case, I think Durham’s Labour-run council has gone too far. Cutting teaching assistants’ pay, simply to achieve Tory-imposed savings, is the wrong course of action. If they want to cut pay, they can start with their own.

  8. mrmarcpc

    I’m from County Durham and I know how useless Durham County Council can be, all these cost cutting ideas are all driven by the tories and then hope that the Labour party be blamed because they’re the majority in local councils dotted around the country, no one should fall for their deception but unfortunately some do.

Comments are closed.