Articles from Unison

Strike ballot for higher education staff over pay and pensions

Teaching assistants use own money to fund uniforms and trips to help struggling parents

Teaching assistants use own money to fund uniforms and trips to help struggling parents, says UNISON Teaching assistants are dipping into their own pockets to help cash-strapped families buy school uniforms, fund trips and provide lunch money, according to a survey by UNISON published today (Friday). Schools are also providing emergency supplies of groceries, with more than one in ten (12%) operating food banks for families. The findings are based on responses from across the UK of more than 4,500 (4,549) teaching assistants from primary and secondary schools. They highlight how pressured, low-income families are turning to schools for basic support, says UNISON.  More than half (54%) of respondents said parents are increasingly in need of more help, while just under half (49%) reported pupils arriving at school hungry more often. Two in five (41%) said they were witnessing increasing levels of poverty. The result is that teaching assistants are using their own money to provide extra help to those in need. More than a fifth (22%) had bought uniforms, a similar proportion (23%) PE kits, while 20% had helped pupils with lunch money.  Nearly one in five (17%) had even provided cash so children could go on school trip, according to the findings. The acts of kindness come as teaching assistants themselves are feeling the financial squeeze, says UNISON. More than three quarters (77%) of schools are making cutbacks, especially over the last couple of years, and more than half (52%) are axing school support staff jobs. Seven in (70%) of respondents said the number of support staff had decreased despite the number of children they were responsible for increasing (69%). The result is high stress levels (70%) and reduced morale (68%), with more than half (56%) considering leaving their jobs. UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:

School uniform supplier must show it doesn’t profit from sweatshop labour, say education unions

One of the UK’s largest school uniform manufacturers has today (Monday) been challenged by unions to show its clothing isn’t being made using sweatshop labour.

Landmark case confirms statutory minimum annual leave for all workers #FutureofEmployment

UNISON have secured a victory at the Court of Appeal affecting hundreds of thousands of employees working part-time and irregular hours or patterns. 

College staff need training in handling weapon-related incidents, warns UNISON

Staff and students have suffered serious injuries as a result of offensive weapons being brought into colleges, according to a UNISON survey published today (Tuesday).

UNISON announces second strike date at Halley Academy

UNISON, along with GMB and NEU, will strike on Tuesday 14 May to protest against redundancies at Halley Academy, a mixed secondary school in Greenwich.

UNISON recommends higher education staff reject ‘inadequate’ pay offer

A pay offer to higher education staff falls far short of the annual rise they deserve as university bosses have seen their salaries soar, says UNISON. The union’s higher education executive has now agreed unanimously to recommend the “inadequate” 2019/20 pay offer from UCEA higher education national employers should be rejected. UNISON will now undertake a consultation to ask members what they are prepared to do in order to achieve improvements to the offer, which is way below the claim jointly submitted by unions. The decision was taken following the results of UNISON’s largest ever survey of staff in higher education. The survey showed that in the past year: -       Three quarters (75%) of staff said pay has not kept pace with increases to their utility bills and council tax -       Half (50%) said their pay has not kept up with housing cost increases -       Almost half (48%) had seen staff reductions in their team -       Two thirds (67%) said their workload has increased in the past year -       Three fifths (61%) don’t feel valued in their job -       Over two thirds (70%) were concerned or very concerned about losing their job UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “Staff in our world-class universities deserve a decent pay rise. Year after year they have suffered the appalling double blow of lower-than-inflation wage rises and increased workloads. “Universities are asking hard-working staff to accept sliding living standards at the same time as many vice chancellors see record growth in their own pay packets. “UNISON is recommending that this inadequate offer is rejected. UCEA needs to get real and come back to us with a serious proposal.”

UK’s biggest academy chain faces vote of no confidence from staff

Education unions representing staff at Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – the largest academy chain in the UK – are today (Wednesday) launching a ballot asking if employees have confidence in the trust’s leadership. 

One in 50 FE college staff has been forced to rely on a food bank

Strike ballot over ‘derisory’ pay for college staff

Reduce vice chancellor pay and reward staff fairly across the university sector

Reacting to data released today (Tuesday) by the Office for Students (OfS) on pay for senior university staff, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:

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