|GMB London Region Schools’ Update 13th April 2021
We hope this finds you well.
RESTRUCTURES AND REDUNDANCIES
Many school support staff are currently facing restructures and possible redundancies because of the deteriorating financial circumstances in schools. Increased National Insurance and Pensions costs coupled with the cost of making schools safer during Covid, without any increase in funding, has had a detrimental impact on schools budgets. Further, a declining birth rate in many areas has led to a reduction in pupil numbers which has also had an effect. GMB recognises that many schools have genuine financial difficulties and has called upon Central Government to support schools through various measures, including calling for schools to be reimbursed for extra cleaning costs and the required alterations within schools to make them Covid safe. GMB is also calling for Government to centrally fund any pay increase for school support staff. GMB London supports members who are going through any restructure or redundancy process and if this is something affecting you, please contact your local Branch or the Schools Team.
JOB RE- EVALUATION
When schools begin a process of restructure or redundancy, it often becomes clear that some staff have been working differently to what is in their contracts. This can be by working additional hours, without having had those hours incorporated into their substantive contracts or by working above the level detailed on their job description. Problems arise when redundancy payments are calculated on contractual hours rather than hours actually worked or when restructures do not reflect the roles that are actually carried out day to day. This is why GMB London has supported members in requesting job re-evaluations to ensure they are receiving the right pay for the right job and helped members get additional hours incorporated into their contracts. In addition to this, the Joint Unions pay claim for 2021/22 calls for proper training and a review of job descriptions, career development and appropriate pay for support staff who often work over and above their role without acknowledgement or reward.
Also, to assist in assessing whether you are being recognised and rewarded appropriately, teaching assistants can complete a teaching assistant role assessment at the following link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TA_Assess
If, on completion of the assessment, you have any questions or need further advice please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are employed on National Terms and Conditions for Local Authority and School Employees (The Green Book), work regular additional hours, you should get these additional hours incorporated into your substantive contract as soon as they become a regular feature of your post. It is important your contract reflects the hours you actually work to ensure your pension contributions are correct and to protect your statutory benefits such as sick pay, maternity pay and annual leave. If this is something that affects you and you would like support or advice in addressing this please contact your local Branch or email email@example.com.
GMB London has produced a Q & A document about job re-evaluation and additional hours which can be found here.
PAY CLAIM 2021/22
As mentioned, the Joint Unions Pay claim for 2021/22 has now been submitted and the overarching message of the pay claim is pay justice for members who have worked throughout the pandemic, providing education for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. The Unions are clear that if there is to be a genuine process of economic recovery from Covid-19 it cannot be achieved through public sector austerity measures. A response to the pay claim is expected after the elections on 6th May 2021 and the claim submitted can be found here.
Please feel free to share this update with your colleagues and if someone is not already in a union they can join GMB online at https://www.gmb.org.uk/join-gmb . Being a member of GMB means you are not alone when facing difficulties at work and your membership should give you the confidence to raise issues you and your colleagues may be facing, knowing you are supported by your Union. Support staff carry out invaluable roles in schools and deserve to have their voice heard and be recognised for the work they do.
If you do not currently have a GMB representative in your school and would be interested in becoming the rep, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss the role with you. Thank you for your continued support- together we are stronger and together we can make a difference.
With kind regards
Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser — Schools and Academies
Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser