Andrew Berry, Islington UNISON Labour Link Officer recalls the fight for our Teaching Assistants from ten years ago
It is very timely for the Islington Branch that UNISON has set Friday 29th November as Teaching Assistants (TA) celebration day. It was ten years ago that Islington UNISON reached agreement with the Local Education Authority and local schools over increases to TA pay.
Islington UNISON's pay claim and proposals were almost agreed when the Blair Government decided to increase the role of TA's which later led to pay increases all over the country. these agreements had to be agreed at local branch level.
The negotiating team for this important agreement included Rosemary Plummer, Jenny Densham, and myself.
The Agreement saw an immediate pay increase of at least 15% for most TA's benefiting hundreds of staff, along with further incremental progression in the years that followed and a career structure to more senior TA roles.
Islington was one of the first Councils to reach agreement which was implemented in September 2003 and it remains to this day one of the most outstanding agreements in the country.
Islington has the highest starting salary for TA's in London to this day and the agreement has protected TA's from being used as a cheap alternative to teachers.
Teaching Assistants and Islington UNISON have a lot to celebrate at the 29th November open day.