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Unions Sell-out Classroom Assistants, here is the real cost

category antrim | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Thursday January 31, 2008 12:22author by NIPSA 517 - NIPSA (personal capacity) Report this post to the editors

The effect/outcome of the FORCED THROUGH Job Evaluation for Classroom Assistants

3% of evaluated staff across the Boards are on pay protection.
70% will be the number of Classroom Assistants who will be on pay protection as stated by Management Representatives for the 5 Boards in the Labour Relations Agency discussions during the period of NIPSA's strike suspension.

The Boards have stated that no-one will lose any money-Fact or Fiction?

Classroom Assistant
(General/mainstream)
Previous rate per hour = £6.86 - £8.90
New rate per hour =£6.18 – £7.73
Reduction per hour = 68p - £1.17

Classroom Assistant
(Special Needs)
Previous rate per hour =£9.56 (max)
New rate per hour = £8.43 (max)
Reduction per hour = £1.13

It is already apparent since the beginning of January 2008 that 30+ Classroom Assistant posts have been advertised across the 5 Boards on the new rates of pay which for the majority of Classroom Assistants is a cut in the rate of pay for this job and a downgrading of the valuable work carried out by Classroom Assistants every day in supporting the education of children alongside the Teacher.

Check SEELB website under recruitment, and for example:
Londonderry PS P1 Classroom Assistant starting at £6.18 per hour and must have an approved childcare qualification.
That is a cut of at least 68 pence per hour, or 12%. Who is kidding who here?

Well done Unison and GMB.
Unison can continue to call itself the union for low paid women workers, a title it has championed since its inception, because continuing to negotiate such outcomes will ensure that being a union for low paid workers remains the case in fact.
Not something to be proud of!

Management/Unison/GMB ="not one classroom Assistant will loose one penny."
It should be noted that Unison were going to sell for much less than was acheived. They had agreed to the outcome pre-summer 2007 without the additional £15million (as per L Kerr's letter to Unison members, but they do not publish that fact, but I WILL NOT HIDE IT EITHER).

In addition the Chief Executive of the Southern Education and Library Board in addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee on 29 November 2007 in response to the following question from John Dallat, MLA:
“…….Let us say that NIPSA agreed today to ballot their classroom assistants. Would you welcome that? Would you ensure that the boards took no action that would cut across the ballot?"

Mrs McClenaghan stated:

“I am happy to respond. I would greatly welcome a ballot. That is the objective that the Boards seek from NIPSA, and we would do nothing to hinder it; rather we would wait for the outcome of the ballot.”

The very next day the Boards did a u-turn and forced through the Collective Agreement at the JNC.
In summarising:
This sell-out was orchestrated all for the measly one off payment of either £1,614 or £2,479 which will be split between 6824 Classroom Assistants. These people have the audacity to sit with a straight face and try to sell this and the truth of the matter is that the Boards will recoup this within a couple of years simply based on the new rates of pay, let alone removal of the special needs allowance also.
As for the spin/lies/hard sell tactics of the Boards, who seem more intent on trying to pay out sell out monies rather than paying all staff on NJC terms their contractual entitlements to the pay rise that applied since 1 April 07; this will all catch up with them, as did the £millions of debt of previous years, that Senior Managers tried to hide, then argued that NIPSA was lying during the Board Financial crisis!

You decide, who lied.

NIPSA Classroom Assistant members are fully aware of what the future holds for them.
Great deal, eh?
Never in my lifetime would I have thought that another union would stab members in the face let alone the back.
Unison and GMB did, and they were cheered on by a very weak Management, who so pathetically had to rely on their treachery. Traitorous/treacherous, are but just a few words I can print about them, other choice words I dare not print, due to the venom they exude! Management/traitorous union leaders, they both come from the same school of spin, spin, and more spin.
Unlike ourselves, they are elected by no one, and seem to answer to no one.
Show critique, and you run the risk of being victimised by either. But, that risk is a must!

We all owe it, particularly those of us who are union reps, to ensure that we never witness the likes of this again.
If Classroom Assistants lose the battle, we must win the war against Capitalist bosses and lick-spittle trade union leaders.

Related Link: http://www.branch517nipsa.co.uk
author by Cowardly Tom - Also sacked by ITGWU and Belfast Employerspublication date Sat Feb 02, 2008 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It still surprises me that any union member would be surprised that his union would sell out. Thats what they there for. The biggest union in ireland is the biggest sellor outer or workers there is. As for a generel strike what a joke. the union leaders will never agree to it because the employers dont want it because it woud unite workers.

author by NIPSA 517publication date Tue Feb 05, 2008 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Management= "not one single classroom assistant will loose one penny"

Reality= some classroom Assistants in Fleming Fulton had their January pay cut by 63pence per hour!

Thanks GMB and Unison!

A real victory for workers by unions!

author by Nipsa C A - Nipsapublication date Thu Feb 07, 2008 21:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ive just heard on the news our MLAS are to get a £10,000 pay rise, bastards am sitting here crying they should be ashamed, I stood day after day on picket lines with fellow low paid women.

author by Scrabble Towerpublication date Fri Feb 08, 2008 22:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unison and GMB are an absolute disgrace. In health there was a determined campaign to down grade medical secretaries. A large group of mostly women employees. Sound familar. NIPSA members in Altnagelvin took strike action and the other Trusts then decided to ballot for strike action. Management and Unison squealed like pigs. Within a week they gave in and properly banded them.

Ask the former Unison medical secretaries in Antrim Hospital the support the management union gave them when they were down graded.

When NIPSA sent a letter of dispute to the Belfast Trust over Medical Secretaries the RVH Unison Branch sent out a bulletin condemning NIPSA and saying any industrial action was doomed to failure. Within the week it was agreed to pay them the proper band.

Unison and managemnet seem content to down grade low paid workers. Lets fully support the classroom assistants to get a fair deal.

I am not expecting a response from anyone in support of the Unison hierarcy as they are probably on the Daily Mail web site

author by patrique - nipsapublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 21:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All of this needs to be broadcast to as many people as possible. The media won't touch it, a union being right is not news, so perhaps it needs highlighted in our own publications, and by writing to local and national press. I shall hopefully make a start in the Antrim/Ballymena area.

author by Gillian - Classroom assistantpublication date Sat Feb 23, 2008 13:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a dead duck,in fact it never was a live one.More than half of classroom assistants are not in a union and many of those that are, including me,were appalled at the tactical ineptitude of nipsa in going off on their own without any prospect of anything other than humiliating defeat on offer.Badmouthing other unions seems to be all that some of these people have to offer but if the recent nipsa elections are anything to go by then no doubt we are in for more of the same.I will be voting with my feet and joining unison,at least they don't live in cloud-cuckoo land and drag people out on silly strikes that don't achieve anything.

author by Erin go Braghpublication date Fri Mar 07, 2008 14:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dead duck is the TU leaders that sold out other union members on strike.
Unions like Unison and GMB need people like Gillian, becuase fighters joined NIPSA.
Silly strikes? Scab, Scab, Scab is the word that applies to both the two unions as named above, but even more sinister is the TGWU Officer Alberto who voted with Management, considering he has 20 members who are CA's.

"Down with the Movement" is what say, because traitors is what the NI TU movement is full of...........old men using workers money for their career!

Unison and their friends should be proud that they have got a "TWO TIER" workforce..................classroom massistants doing the same work, paid differently.
Thanks Unison...........Yes-ison!!!!!

author by Siobhan - Unisonpublication date Wed Mar 12, 2008 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am a member of Unison and proud of it,they had the sense and so did all the other unions except Nipsa to keep us out of a stupid dispute that involved treating disabled and disadvantaged kids as pawns to be used and abused.Gillian has made a valid point,most of the classroom assistants are not even in a union and even if Nipsa has a majority of the minority that are,it would not have been enough to do anything,so this was a waste of time from start to finish.As for the respective numbers,what about the Health Trusts,one of which I work for?I don't see Nipsa complaining that thay have disproportionate representation rights there based on numbers but if that is the logical position, then they should put their money where their mouths are and give up some more of their seats to Unison,by far the bigger,more popular and most trusted union.

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