Today the GMB, NASUWT, UNISON and Unite trade unions are encouraging schools and colleges to sign up for a new scheme that recognises employers who treat their staff well.
The unions say that although many employers treat their staff with dignity and engage with constructive unions, there are still too many that do not. The Valued Worker Scheme highlights schools and colleges that treat their staff well and encourage improvements at those that currently do not.
The scheme has six guiding principles to ensure staff are treated with dignity at work:
- Provide a safe, secure and enjoyable working environment
- Ensure the well-being and dignity at work of all employees
- Provide relevant training and development opportunities
- Negotiate pay and conditions that guarantee the Foundation Living Wage and cover outsourced workers
- Work with staff and unions to agree formal work policies
- Ensure work policies and practices are evidence-based.
Schools can sign up for the scheme irrespective of their current Ofsted grading.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary said:
“The Valued Worker Scheme recognises that good employer practices are essential to securing the best educational opportunities for children and young people. Employers who treat their staff fairly, equitably and with dignity will see the longer-term benefits in terms of staff recruitment, retention and morale, as well as improved educational outcomes for pupils.”
“We know from our work with employers across the country, that there are many employers who are committed to doing what they can to provide decent working conditions for their staff. We applaud the work of those employers and encourage others to do the same.”
UNISON head of education Mike Short said:
“School and college staff have the right to be treated well at work. Good employers look after their workers because they know it’s the right thing to do. They also understand that everyone benefits from a decent working environment.”
Unite national officer Clare Keogh said:
“Unite are delighted to support the Valued Worker Scheme which provides an opportunity for Unite and other unions to ensure employers are providing secure and safe places to work with decent jobs, pay and conditions.
“The scheme also gives recognition to employers who are committed to collective bargaining and strong trade union rights.”
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary said:
“School support staff play a central role in the education of our children. They must be treated fairly and equally to their teacher colleagues.
“When employers don’t, these hidden professionals tell us of low staff morale, as well as serious recruitment and retention issues throughout our schools and academies.
“The Valued Worker Scheme is about encouraging more employers to think about their day-to-day practices and make changes to ensure they treat their staff with the dignity and respect they deserve. They need to work with trade unions and commit to improving working conditions for all school support staff and teachers.”