Support staff

Unions: £1,290 support staff pay offer ‘falls short’

'Many workers will feel let down because their household bills continue to rise'

'Many workers will feel let down because their household bills continue to rise'

Teaching assistants and other school support staff employed by councils have been offered a pay increase of at least £1,290, but unions say the offer “falls short”.

The deal for the 2024-25 financial year, which began in April, is lower than the almost £2,000 offer accepted in both 2022-23 and 2023-24. It equates to 5.77 per cent for the lowest-paid workers.

Unions had asked for an increase of either £3,000 or 10 per cent, whichever is higher.

Pay for council-employed school support staff is negotiated between local authorities – referred to as the “national employers” and unions. The resulting rises apply to LA-maintained schools, but many academy trusts also mirror the deals reached.

Tim Roca, chair of the national employers, said the lowest-paid workers – currently earning £22,366 a year – would have seen their pay rise by £5,323, or almost 30 per cent, since April 2021.

For those on all pay points above the top of the pay spine, an offer of 2.5 per cent has been made.

The total increase to the national pay bill resulting from this offer would be £731.70 million, but this includes non-school council staff.

“The national employers are acutely aware of the additional pressure this year’s offer will place on already hard-pressed council finances, as it would need to be paid for from existing budgets.

“However, they believe their offer is fair to employees, given the wider economic backdrop.”

Staff ‘deserve a decent pay rise’

UNISON head of local government Mike Short said council and school staff “deserve a decent pay rise for the vital support they provide to communities”.

“But this offer falls short of the union’s reasonable claim.

“Many workers will feel let down because their household bills continue to rise. UNISON will consult representatives over the coming days before deciding the next steps.”

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said “on the face of it, the deal looks disappointing”.

“The LGA rejected our claims for a shorter working week, additional days’ leave and a commitment to work towards a minimum of £15 an hour.

“However GMB will now speak to our local government and schools committees to decide our position on the offer and will then ballot all members.”

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