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:

Local MPs urge Birmingham University to resolve pay dispute

Support staff at Birmingham University are to take further strike action today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) in their long-running industrial dispute over fair pay, equality and improved working conditions.

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.