Durham teaching assistants accept new pay offer over dispute

County Hall in Durham.
County Hall in Durham.

Teaching assistants in Durham represented by UNISON, have today overwhelmingly voted to accept the final offer made by the County Council to end their long-running dispute.

The improved offer, put forward last month, is the result of lengthy negotiations with the Council, which involved teaching assistants themselves. It is significantly different from the initial offer made over a year ago, and subsequently rejected.

Today’s acceptance will see the introduction of a new grading structure for teaching assistants and the setting up of a career progression board. The regarding changes will take effect in January 2018. The progression board will get to work immediately and will include UNISON teaching assistant representatives.

UNISON northern regional secretary Clare Williams said: “This is a great result for Durham teaching assistants. The deal that they have voted to accept means the majority of them will not be worried about pay cuts. It also provides a clear way forward for all teaching assistants regardless of individual regrading.

"This is a significant step forward and means the majority of teaching assistants have been regraded. For those who have not, the setting up of the progression board gives a clear written commitment from the Council to work with UNISON to find solutions for all.

“This dispute has lasted far too long, and caused too much pain, stress and concern for teaching assistants – and everyone who cares about local schools.

“UNISON, as the union representing the vast majority of Durham teaching assistants, has spent many months negotiating with the Council. I’m glad that at long last we have been able to find a way of moving forward together.

“Now the Council needs to make good on their commitments to all Durham teaching assistants, and work with us to ensure this deal is implemented quickly and in full.”