Friday, 4 July 2008

Equal Pay and its' implications

The sorting out of the long-standing Equal Pay issue for council manual workers has had the odd interesting/challenging by-product, not least the removal of the SEN Allowance payable to staff working with Special Needs pupils.

Remember that the position is complex as although the staff work in our school and tend to see the GB (or even Head) as their employer, they are technically employed by the LEA, who deal with them through their Education Joint Venture Company and eventually us. We have no locus in the Collective Agreement being negotiated even though, until today, the LA have been insisting that we formally sign up to the agreement or suffer the consequences.

As a Special School, we have lots of staff eligible for the SEN allowance and have been pushing our Council very hard indeed to come to a resolution that does not involve a very significant portion of our staff losing out. We, along with a few other schools, refused to sign up to the initial offer and are convinced that this move 'stiffened the spines' of those doing the negotiation. We stood firm and this afternoon got a result of sorts. The LA are now working with the JV Company to find a way to 'fudge' (although they woudl not use the word!) the system so that we can paqy our existing employees a different sort of allowance - retention perhaps - that will cover their losses.

Moreover, we have ended up in a position where we have not accepted the deal, merely acknowledged that it is happening. Weasel words to some but an honourable position to us - we fight hard for our staff and this is an unstoppable train so let's do our best to get it to the right destination.

A good day.

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