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On June 16, last Wednesday, 30 Derby schools were closed and more than 20 partially shut because of the action by Teaching Assistants (TAs), members of Unison, over their long standing dispute with Derby City Council. A protest was also held outside the Council House. At least 500 UNISON members and supporters took part in the protest. The above picture is from the protest and lots more can be seen here.

The dispute is particularly bitter. All of the Teaching Assistants in Derby who had not already accepted Derby City Council’s new Terms and Conditions have been dismissed. This resulted from the Council’s inability to negotiate a settlement with the Unions that may result in 20-25% pay cuts for many of the staff. They are taking action against changes to their contracts, imposed from the beginning of this month, which could see many lose up to 25% of their pay – averaging £300-£400 a month.

This Monday was the start of the lunchtime strikes all this week  by the Teaching Assistants and School Support staff. Despite this massive inconvenience of the strike, parents  wholeheartedly support the plight of the Teaching Assistants and went to the council house to protest. For more information on this see Derby News and the Derby Telegraph.

UNISON Derby City branch is calling on the council to rethink its imposition of changes. “Strike action is not something that is taken lightly,” said UNISON schools convenor Sue Bonser. “Our dispute is about changes to terms and conditions which have resulted in severe loses for support staff. The decision by Derby City Council to reduce our hours will have a negative impact on the learning of the children of Derby.”

Support by other unions and organisations

Sue Arguile, Derby branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told the Derby Telegraph: “The NUT is totally behind Unison’s action. Teachers and children depend very heavily on teaching assistants and the NUT feels that the whole issue has been handled very badly by the city council.
“It is appalling that already poorly-paid education workers are losing substantial amounts under new contracts and unless there is a rethink on the part of the council the NUT fears that many good support staff will leave for less stressful jobs outside education and pupils will suffer because of this..

Silk Mill March, Rally and People’s Festival 2016

The picture is from the front of the Silk Mill March. 
On Saturday the 18th several hundred people marched from  Market Place and weaved through the town centre to the Cathedral Green. The Indian dancers were spectacular and lots of photos can be seen here.

There were speeches from ASLEF’s Tosh McDonald, Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition, shadow cabinet member Ian Lavery MP, and Louise Regan, the incoming president of the National Union of Teachers, who criticised the Government’s current Education White Paper.
She said: “With all the problems currently in teaching, it’s the wrong time to put forward measures such as academising schools. So we will be calling for a day of action before the end of this term and another one in September.”

Moz Greenshields, secretary of the Derby Area Trades Union Council, who had organised the event, told the audience: “This event is as relevant as ever today as it was originally. It shows solidarity within the trade union movement.”
You can see more images here.

A one-minute silence was held in honour of Jo Cox.
During the afternoon a festival of music took place including DeadTime Philharmonic, Eastfield and Loscoe State Opera and Nottingham Clarion Choir.

Derby Peoples Assembly, along with a number of unions and community organisations,had a stall on the Cathedral Green and many more activities were organised in other parts of town, in partnership with “Furthest From The Sea”.

This event was a departure from the traditional Trade Union march and the combination of different types of events involving a wider cross-section was a success and something that we can build upon. A great thank you to all those who made it happen.

Refugee Week

Refugee Week is being held from 20th-26th June across the country. The week aims to celebrate the contributions that refugees bring to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities. 

The Peoples Assembly Convoy to Calais, on Saturday 18 June 2016, was refused entry into France. Over 250 vehicles carrying many tonnes of much needed aid for refugees in the ‘Jungle Camp’ were turned away at the border by the French authorities. Please add your name to the Open Letter, calling upon the authorities to allow our convoys to pass!  Click on

On Wednesday 22nd June, 9.30am: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be visiting the Red Cross drop-in service at St. Peters to meet refugees and volunteers.

On Friday 24th June, 6pm -10pm: There will be live music, dancing, spoken word at the Maypole Café, Bar and Theatre from performers from a refugee background and local performers showing support for refugees in the city.


Derby People’s Assembly Against Austerity