UNISON welcomes EOC report and calls for
fair pay for classroom assistants
UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's 15,000 classroom and
learning assistants (CLAs) today welcomed the publication of the
EOC's Formal Investigation into their role and status.
UNISON represents over 95% of union members in this job. They called
for all local authorities to increase the pay of all CLAs and to
compensate them in full for past loss.
Peter Hunter, UNISON's Legal Officer, and a member of the investigation's
advisory board said
"UNISON has consistently argued that these important members of
the education team have been undervalued since they were placed
on the lowest possible pay scale in 1999. We congratulate the EOC
on their detailed work and welcome the report and call on Executive
to fund the full compensation of women underpaid as a result.
"It is a sad reflection that our valuation of these key staff has
delivered an education system in which some school children earn
more than women employed in supporting their learning."
UNISON said CoSLA should accept the bulk of this report and establish
a working group to carry forward the recommendations and suggested
that the Education Committee of the Scottish Parliament should ensure
that appropriate follow up action is taken by authorities.
Peter Hunter said "We have already got a backlog of 1,500 equal
pay cases for classroom assistants either lodged or in the process
of being lodged with employment tribunals. This report makes it
clear why UNISON has so many cases. It would be better if authorities
came to an agreed settlement to deliver fair treatment to CLAs both
for past discrimination and future pay scales."
Jackie Gilchrist, A UNISON member and classroom assistant from
St Andrew's Primary School in Midlothian, said "It is good to have
an independent body confirming what we, our teaching colleagues
and parents have known for sometime - that classroom assistants
carry out more responsible work than the grading recognises, and
have done for sometime. Through UNISON, we will now be campaigning
to ensure that the key recommendations of this report are implemented
and that classroom assistants get the credit and salary that reflects
their vital contribution to Scottish education."
UNISON will be taking a detailed look at the other recommendations
in the Report and wants to sit down with the EOC to discuss the
recommendations further. Whilst the report is overwhelmingly positive,
the union has concerns about the recommendation to place CLAs under
the remit of the General Teaching Council, where they would have
Peter Hunter said, "It doesn't seem consistent to place key support
posts that are already underrated within a teaching machinery that
is bound to regard them as second class citizens. Their progression
and training should be developed in the existing negotiating machinery
where classroom and learning assistants can be directly represented
by their union."
here for full report, "Valuable Assets"