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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 January 2012

Save Vine services

Vine in Leeds provides specialist education provision for young adults with severe and complex learning difficulties. Many of the staff are female Unison members working part-time as Learning Support Assistants (LSAs). But since the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008 they have seen the service contract and deteriorate.

The students' funding is provided by Leeds City colleges via the Young Peoples' Learning Agency but there is a question mark as to how many students will be funded this way and how much will be provided by our own employer to keep our members in jobs. Overall it is predicted that Leeds City council is to cut another 55 million from its 2012-13 budget. That may mean up to 600 jobs will go!

Our members at Vine have lost out in the re-evaluation of our jobs as it failed to account for the 'Special Needs Allowance' for the personal care we provide to the students. Although we qualified for the three-year pay protection that ran out in February 2011, and with no decent national pay increase in years, our members have really felt the pinch.

We say enough is enough. No more cuts. Fair pay now.

A Unison steward

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