The SSSNB has been abolished by the Con-Dem government. Although this decision was expected, it will still be a huge disappointment for many UNISON members.
The decision to abolish it was in a leaked document from the Cabinet Office in August and it was only after this was made public that Michael Gove decided to consult the unions and employers. UNISON submitted evidence to him on 22 October and less than a week later he announced the abolition of the SSSNB. It was clear he had already made his decision.
UNISON issued the following press release in response to the statement: “UNISON TO CONSULT ON INDUSTRIAL ACTION OVER ABOLITION OF SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF PAY BODY UNISON, the UK’s leading public sector trade union, today said it would be consulting members on taking industrial action over the abolition of the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB).
The body, which was years in the making, was set up to develop consistency in pay, conditions and job roles for schools support staff including teaching assistants, special needs staff, nursery nurses, school secretaries, caretakers, technicians and schools meals staff.
Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Education, said: “This is a bitter blow to the mainly women, overwhelmingly low paid, hard working and loyal support staff in schools. UNISON will be consulting our members on taking industrial action as a matter of urgency. “The coalition’s consultation process was a sham. It was obvious the government had made up its mind, right from the beginning, that schools support staff are not worthy of national pay and conditions. “We are calling for an immediate equality impact assessment, as it is likely this move will hit women hard. The government must also explain how it intends to deliver George Osborne’s headline grabbing, £250 boost for the lowest paid. It is a disgrace that they have so far refused to guarantee this pledge for schools support staff.”