UNION

Academy trust plans to slash wages by 20%

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25 Feb 2019
Press Office

Press Office

GMB, the union for school support staff, will consult on strike action over an academy trust’s plans to cut low paid staff’s wages by more than 20%.

St Chads Academy Trust, a Church of England multi-academy trust, started a consultation in October 2018 on proposals to cut terms and conditions for support staff working in nine schools across Staffordshire.

The trust cited a potential deficit in some of the schools and differences in pay for teaching assistants as the justification for the move.

The proposals would see already low paid support staff lose more than 20% of their pay.

They’ve told our members that, if they don’t agree to these changes, they will be dismissed.

Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser:

Accounts for the trust show that cash assets have increased by over £1m in the last financial year (to just over £3.5m).

During the same period, the trust paid six staff between £60k and £80k, three more than the year before.

The trust also paid out just under £250k to ‘key trustees and the senior management team’.  

classroom

No planned savings have been put forward regarding any of these payments - in fact, other than the cuts to teaching assistants’ pay, the proposals do not identify any other cost cutting measures.

Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“GMB submitted a response as part of the consultation, but the document wasn’t even shared with any of the staffing committees making the decision. Based on this, there was no indication that the trust was willing to even consider any other options.

“As a result, GMB and our Unison colleagues went into dispute with the trust. The Trust agreed to meet with both unions, but these talks have now broken down.

“We asked for a pause in the proposals to enable us to have discussions, but this was refused.

“We asked the trust to agree to ACAS mediation. This was refused.

“And we put forward a sensible alternative proposal. This was rejected.

support staff

“We have tried to work with the trust to find a way forward that mitigates this drastic cut in pay for some of the lowest paid workers.Unfortunately, there is no indication that the trust will consider changing their course.

“They’ve told our members that, if they don’t agree to these changes, they will be dismissed.

“There is no way our members will accept massive pay cuts while academy fat cats carry on getting the cream.

“GMB is committed to fighting these cuts and will meet with members later this week to finalise the next steps.”

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