Saturday, 17 May 2008

'Teachers on the cheap' threaten strike action

Classroom assistants (are we allowed to call them that any more?) are threatening a national pay strike, saying schools are using them as 'teachers on the cheap'.

Jim Knight, schools minister, was accused of sacrificing teaching assistants' pay and conditions when he attended a support staff union conference in London this week.

Unison, which represents morfe than 200000 support staff and classroom assistants, agreed to ballot for a one-day national strike in July over a pay offer of 2.45%. Assistants say they are expected to do the job of teachers, but starting pay under £15000 compares unfavourably to teachers' £20133.

Mr Knight announced to the Unison conference that a new pay negotiating body for school support staff would be set up by September, with an independent chair.

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