The spectacle of classroom assistants being forced to take to the streets in pursuit of a decent wage deal is sickening – especially as it has taken more than 10 years for them to be made any kind of an offer. Now, with the NIPSA members on all-out strike, the big bullies have moved in.
The Belfast Telegraph reports in their story, “School strikers told: deal is fair and final”, that:-
Education bosses last night insisted an offer made to thousands of striking classroom assistants over a week ago was fair and final. A spokesman for the five boards stressed that there will be no increase in working hours for any classroom assistant or pay cut for anyone currently employed as a classroom assistant.
Now, I don’t know about you but I doubt if any other group of workers in the country would accept an offer such as that which has been made. The NIPSA website has the full details if you want to look at this paltry offer. But this is the wording:-
“Management Side is however committed to reaching a resolution of this dispute. Management Side therefore proposes to seek to obtain additional monies for the purposes of buying out these historic terms and conditions of service (i.e. 32.5 hours and the SNA) and will seek, subject to Trade Union Side agreement, to submit a revised Business Case to DE for approval. Management Side will seek to obtain an additional £15m for the purposes of buying out the historic terms and conditions of every current Classroom Assistant. This will result in a payment to every current Classroom Assistant – an equitable and fair distribution to be agreed. This is on top of the monies which will be allocated for the payment of arrears under the JE Scheme based upon a 36 hour divisor and the introduction of the three grades for Classroom Assistants arising out of Job Evaluation.”
So..let’s get this straight. Management is proposing buying out the contracts of all the classroom assistants for less than Watford FC would pay for a hopeless striker? They intend to do away with the Special Needs Allowance and tie the assistants to some unspecified deal -which is unlikely to be better – that will come out of a Job Evaluation exercise. How much would you bet that the Job Evaluation exercise alone will costs more than the £15 million?
Inattention. At least 6 of the following often apply:
- Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless errors in schoolwork, work or other activities.
- Has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play.
- Doesn’t appear to listen when being told something.
- Neither follows through on instructions nor completes chores, schoolwork, or jobs (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand).
- Has trouble organizing activities and tasks.
- Dislikes or avoids tasks that involve sustained mental effort (homework, schoolwork).
- Loses materials needed for activities (assignments, books, pencils, tools, toys).
- Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
Now, given that education bosses have:-
- failed to find the negotiating table for more than 10 years;
- failed to pay attention to the task in hand;
- failed to listen to the assistants and head-teachers and teachers involved;
- failed to complete the chore of getting a settlement;
- dislike the mental effort involved in seeking a solution to the task in hand;
- seem to have forgotten until this strike that there is an ongoing problem.
I think we can safely conclude that the bosses at DENI and the 5 Education and Library Boards are suffering from ADD!
So, for the benefit of these wile busy people I’ll make this simple. Each of your substantial salaries would pay for, roughly, 6 classroom assistants – anyone of whom has probably had more impact to the good on children’s learning than all the product your last ten years meetings, discussions and pointless tinkering with our schools.
Now get off your collectives a**s, get into serious negotiations and get this sorted. Remember, parents choose your bosses through the ballot box and parents could send you some right ear bashings with the next lot to be elected if you don’t sort this out quick.
Here’s an idea for everyone in the meantime. Visit Write To Them.com, put in your post code, choose your local representatives and send them a message urging them to put some pressure on the education chiefs to get this sorted. You’ll be amazed how quick things will begin to move.
In the meantime, add your voice here and, if you have nothing to say in the debate why not just add your vote:-
QUICK POLL: Vote Here
Just CLICK the question below to register your vote.
So.. over to you.
Any classroom assistants out their care to share their thoughts?