Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/23782
Durham teaching assistant pledges ongoing fight against pay cuts
Durham City Council is proposing to sack 2,700 teaching assistants (TAs) and then rehire them on 23% less pay.
At an event in Durham City centre, which was to raise awareness of the attack on them, teaching assistant Lisa Turnbull talked to the Socialist about the impact of this proposal and their struggle against the Labour controlled council.
Lisa started by explaining:
"It's the utter devastation, made worse by the fact it's a Labour council. I've been brought up to believe that Labour is for working people.
"It's impacting on people's health, their relationships, finances - some have had to sell their houses.
"The campaign is taking up everything. When my daughter wants to meet me she has to come along to these events!
"If these cuts are implemented I won't be able to help finance my daughter through university and will really struggle to pay my mortgage - that's after 26 years of service.
"We won't accept this at all. We've grouped together as County Durham TA Activist Committee. We are a completely self-organised grassroots campaign."
Teaching assistants have felt let down by their trade unions. Lisa commented:
"Dave Prentis [Unison general secretary] finally came up to Durham to speak to us - he promised way back at the Miners' Gala [in July] that he would come. He has now promised to throw the full financial backing of the union behind us."
Teaching assistants standing next to us were sceptical of Prentis. Certainly TAs will have to ensure pressure is kept on him to fulfil his commitment to back them.
Lisa ended by saying: "Regardless of everything we are going to fight this!"
Unison's strike ballot closes on 19th October.
- Messages of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To contribute to the Durham TAs' fund visit: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/CountyDurhamTeachingAssistants
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 19 October 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
- Click here to read our full appeal statement
- Click here for our coronavirus articles and reports
- Click here to join the Socialist Party