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Manor Green School support staff set to protest over pay cuts

Union members at Manor Green School are set to demonstrate their ‘anger and frustration’ when they protest over pay cuts tomorrow (Thursday).

The proposed cut to pay and the imposition of a new contract will affect support staff at the school.

The GMB union announced this week it is balloting to take strike action.

Support staff took part in a consultative ballot, in which union members supported a full formal ballot for strike action after ‘the school’s refusal to discuss and explore the alternatives to address the school budget problems’.

The protest, due to take place outside the school in Elizabeth Hawkes Way at 2.30pm today (Thursday), is aimed at bringing the issue ‘to the attention of parents and the public and to oppose and fight these changes’.

Asia Allison, GMB regional organiser, said: “The fact that our members voted by almost 100 per cent for strike action in a consultative ballot, shows the depth of anger and frustration GMB members feel at the outrageous attitude adopted by the school management.

“If this proposal is imposed on GMB members, the school will probably rely on goodwill and staff will not receive pay for the hours that they actually work.

“As this is a special school, although the school said that this proposal will not have an impact on the pupils, GMB and the members strongly believe that this will, purely because of the nature of the school.

“We are urging the school to withdraw the proposal and engage in meaningful dialogue on alternatives.”

Joolz Scarlett, headteacher at Manor Green School, said: “We have recently consulted class-based support staff on a change to their contracts of employment.

“A historical agreement means that these staff are paid for 37 hours a week even though they work only 32.5 hours a week under their current contract.

“We intend to realign payment of support staff to hours actually worked by adjusting hours paid on a phased basis over the next three years until they match their working week of 32.5 hours.

“Manor Green School continues to offer generous rates of pay compared to other schools in the area and continue to invest in staff training and development.

“We understand that this change is unsettling for staff, but believe it to be fair and in the best overall interests of our staff and students in the context of the demands on our limited resources.

“We wish to avoid class-based staff redundancies and provide students with the best possible opportunities and outcomes.

“We have invited GMB representatives to present alternative cost-saving proposals which we will consider, however to date nothing workable has been forthcoming.”

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