Thursday, 28 July 2016

Shoulder To Shoulder

In the last hour or so, Jeremy Corbyn has posted the following on Facebook, and he has tweeted the screenshot of that post:

I recently had the honour of meeting the Durham Teaching Assistants at the Durham Miners’ Gala [ahem, a meeting arranged by your humble blogger], who are resisting the imposition of term time pay, and campaigning to be employed during every week of the year.

The government must fund Teaching Assistants every week of the year; recognising the crucial work these dedicated public servants do in our society - not pushing them into poverty.

Most school workers employed on so-called term-time contracts are women, paid for just ten months of the year.

My friend Davy Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association, who passed away only last week, said: 

“Education is one of the most important public services we have and frankly it is unbelievable that a Labour Authority is behaving in this way.

“They should immediately start renegotiating with the Teaching Assistants and sort out this mess. My solidarity is with the Teaching Assistants.” 

Easington MP Grahame Morris said:

“I whole-heartedly oppose the decision to substantially cut the income of low paid Teaching Assistants and I'm appalled that the council would threaten to dismiss and re-engage.

“The Government must now step up to the plate and commit to funding the wages of teaching assistants all year.” 

I give this commitment.

I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with their campaign - backed by UNISON which was agreed at their conference this year - to end the imposition of term time pay and for school workers across the UK to be employed during every week of the year.

And earlier this evening, Councillor Owen Temple of Consett North, a Liberal Democrat, wrote: 

As the holiday season starts, councillors get an email out of the blue telling us that there is a Special Council Meeting on September 14th, the only subject matter being Teaching Assistants.

I don’t know when we’ll hear any more, but I know which side I’m on.

With others, I did good things as a Parish Councillor and as a school governor. Small ones, in the great scheme of things. But good ones.

If, however, I have played even the smallest part in securing justice for the Teaching Assistants, then that will be by far my proudest political achievement, and quite possibly the proudest achievement of my life.

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