Education support staff call for end to ‘unfair’ contracts

Unions
representing thousands of education support staff in the UK’s schools, colleges
and universities are  demanding an end
to term-time only contracts, which leave union members without pay for up to 13
weeks of the year.

The
unions say that education support staff (caretakers, cleaners, caterers,
administrators, playground, nursery, classroom and laboratory staff) are
employed under highly-variable contracts, some paid all year round, while
others are paid for the academic year only.

Unison’s
national secretary for education, Christina McAnea, said: "The long hardship
holidays are looming without pay or jobseeker’s allowance. Name a male
profession that employers would treat in this way and tell us that this is not
sex discrimination. The education sector is asking more and more of support
staff, who are increasingly resentful about their poor treatment. Justice and
equality for term-time workers is a priority campaign for our union."

Jude
Brimble, GMB national officer for schools, said: "The GMB will no longer
accept this blatant discrimination. This affects predominantly women workers
who are the backbone of our education services. The Government and employers
praise the valuable contribution of support workers. Now they need to translate
those words into proper recognition by ending this bad employment practice.
School support staff should not have to rely on state benefits every time there
is a school holiday."

By Quentin Reade

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