Monday, 13 June 2016

Values Voting

After a perfectly wonderful weekend in London with my family from the ends of the earth, I am well and truly back in the swing of things.

From January, Durham County Council intends to pay its Teaching Assistants less than any other authority in the country.

There is no point blaming "the Tories". There are only four of those on Durham County Council, and they abstained.

The Independent and Lib Dem members voted against this, while a huge number of Labour members absented themselves.

No authority is doing this apart from one that has been massively Labour-dominated since before living memory.

Something similar has been successfully averted in Conservative-controlled Barnet.

No, Teaching Assistants are not "paid for the holidays". They never have been.

In relatively recent decades, they have been paid in the holidays, because before that they used to sign on outside the school terms.

The decision was then taken to divide their term-time wage by 12 and pay it monthly. That, and that alone, remains the situation.

Cutting that rate of pay by 25 per cent, therefore, would take it below the national minimum wage.

Every councillor who voted for this needs to be removed at the ballot box next May.

And next month, Jeremy Corbyn needs to denounce and disown this measure in the course of his speech to the Durham Miners' Gala.

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