UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date Wednesday 30 May

UNISON welcomes EOC report and calls for fair pay for classroom assistants

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 result.

"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 further.

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)