Plymouth school support staff set for second day of strike action

Teaching assistants, administration staff and meal time assistants in Plymouth schools will strike over pay today (Wednesday) for the second time in a fortnight.

Support staff at Plym Academy Trust are protesting over being paid up to 56 pence less per hour than others in similar roles locally.

Their low wages are the result of the multi-academy Trust failing to implement a pay award* last year, according to UNISON.

The wages of support staff contrast with the Trust’s top five earners who now share an annual income of more than £325,000.

UNISON is calling on the Trust to honour the pay award which has been implemented by the vast majority (90%) of academies country-wide.

Teaching assistant Joanne Pridham said: “We don’t know what else to do to get our point across – all of us feel so unappreciated. It’s unfair that we’re now one of the lowest paid schools in the county.”

Plymouth in UNISON branch secretary Kevin Treweeks said: “Support staff have suffered massive real term pay cuts but do hugely important jobs that keep schools running. They help children’s learning in the classroom, provide special educational needs support, staff reception and communicate with parents, clean and maintain the school, and provide children with nutritious meals.

“The Trust have awarded their senior employees significant increases over the past two years. We’re calling on Plymouth Academy Trust to pay up for the lowest paid now.”

Notes to editors:

  • A picket will take place outside Woodford Primary School from 7:30am to 9:15am.
  • A rally will take place on Ridgeway, Plympton, outside Coop supermarket at 12:30pm.
  • *National Joint Council (NJC) terms and conditions saw the lowest paid staff paid the real living wage (£9 per hour) from 1st April 2019.
  • The pay award would cost Plym Academy Trust less than £18,000 to to April 2020.
  • School support staff have faced real terms pay cuts of more than 21% on average since 2010.