Date Wednesday 30 May
UNISON welcomes EOC report and calls for fair pay for classroom
UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's 15,000 classroom and
learning assistants (CLAs) today welcomed the publication of the
EOC's Formal Investigation into their role and status.
UNISON represents over 95% of union members in this job. They called
for all local authorities to increase the pay of all CLAs and to
compensate them in full for past loss.
Peter Hunter, UNISON's Legal Officer, and a member of the investigation's
advisory board said "UNISON has consistently argued that these important
members of the education team have been undervalued since they were
placed on the lowest possible pay scale in 1999. We congratulate
the EOC on their detailed work and welcome the report and call on
Executive to fund the full compensation of women underpaid as a
"It is a sad reflection that our valuation of these key staff
has delivered an education system in which some school children
earn more than women employed in supporting their learning."
UNISON said CoSLA should accept the bulk of this report and establish
a working group to carry forward the recommendations and suggested
that the Education Committee of the Scottish Parliament should ensure
that appropriate follow up action is taken by authorities.
Peter Hunter said "We have already got a backlog of 1,500 equal
pay cases for classroom assistants either lodged or in the process
of being lodged with employment tribunals. This report makes it
clear why UNISON has so many cases. It would be better if authorities
came to an agreed settlement to deliver fair treatment to CLAs both
for past discrimination and future pay scales."
Jackie Gilchrist, A UNISON member and classroom assistant from
St Andrew's Primary School in Midlothian, said "It is good to have
an independent body confirming what we, our teaching colleagues
and parents have known for sometime - that classroom assistants
carry out more responsible work than the grading recognises, and
have done for sometime. Through UNISON, we will now be campaigning
to ensure that the key recommendations of this report are implemented
and that classroom assistants get the credit and salary that reflects
their vital contribution to Scottish education."
UNISON will be taking a detailed look at the other recommendations
in the Report and want to sit down with the EOC to discuss the recommendations
Whilst the report is overwhelmingly positive, the union has concerns
about the recommendation to place CLAs under the remit of the General
Teaching Council, where they would have no representation.
Peter Hunter said, "It doesn't seem consistent to place key support
posts that are already underrated within a teaching machinery that
is bound to regard them as second class citizens. Their progression
and training should be developed in the existing negotiating machinery
where classroom and learning assistants can be directly represented
by their union."
Note for Editors: there will be a number of CLAs available
for interview at the launch on Wednesday. Contacts for case studies
prior to this via Chris Bartter (below).
For Further Information Please Contact: Peter Hunter (Legal
Officer) 07903 814 118(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m) Alyson Thomson (Director of Communications
- EOC) -0141 245 1831(w)