Ash Field Academy workers celebrate their pay victory (Picture: Unison)

Support workers at Ash Field Academy in Leicester have won their fight for fair pay.

The Unison union members voted to accept an improved pay deal backdated to September 2022 after 43 days of strikes.

The agreement includes the introduction of pay scale and pay progression. This, alongside the £1,925 salary increase for local authority workers, brings the support staff into line with similar schools the council maintains.

The agreement also included a one-off payment of £2,000 to all support staff and an agreement to comply with all future nationally-agreed pay awards for school support staff.

Unison says the deal increases pay for classroom-based support staff by between 18 and 25 percent.

Tom Barker, the Unison steward at the school, said, “We have won a historic victory.

“Part of this reflects just how badly staff at the school were paid previously.

“Education support workers are extremely underpaid and undervalued nationally.

“But at Ash Field Academy things had been much worse for a long time.

“We fought to correct this and we have won.

“But like all investment in public services, it is not just the workers who will reap the benefits.

“The actions of Unison members at Ash Field Academy will help to correct the recruitment and retention issues our school has faced and ultimately benefit us, our students and their families.

Judges back Deliveroo bosses against workers

Deliveroo cannot be legally compelled to engage with a union representing its riders for the purposes of collective bargaining, judges have outrageously ruled. It’s another sign of how the law aids bosses.

The decision is the latest in a long-running dispute, which began when the IWGB and other unions tried to represent a group of riders over pay and conditions.

The case was previously dismissed by lower courts but an appeal was brought to the Supreme Court.

However, judges at the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal.

Judge Vivien Rose said Deliveroo riders did not have an “employment relationship” with the food courier company and were not entitled to compulsory collective bargaining.

Judges said multiple factors, including riders being free to decline offers of work and to work for Deliveroo’s competitors, were “fundamentally inconsistent” with such a relationship.

Collective bargaining is an official process in which trade unions negotiate with employers on behalf of their members.

The IWGB said, “As a union, we cannot accept that thousands of riders should be working without key protections like the right to collective bargaining, and we will continue to make that case using all avenues available to us, including considering our options under international law.”

The only guaranteed way to break corporations such as Deliveroo is more of the strikes that have hit the firm.

Anti-racists win in Wigan

Anti-racists in Wigan confronted an intimidatory and racist gathering outside refugee accommodation last Saturday.

Last time the racists had big numbers at an anti-refugee rally outside the accommodation in Standish.

But last weekend there were 30 anti-racists—including trade unionists from the NEU, Unite, Unison and RMT—and only 15 on the racist protest.

They were demoralised and couldn’t get very near the hotel as anti-racists had taken the space.

Anti-racist protester Malcolm from Stand Up To Racism said, “The refugees were aware we were there supporting them. Also there were many cars sounding their horns in support.”

Join SUTR’s March Against Racism in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday 16 March 2024. Details here 

Keep Campsfield refugee prison shut

Around 50 protesters united to oppose the scheduled reopening of a refugee prison, Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, in Kidlington, near Oxford, last Saturday.

Speakers included local councillors, and spokespeople from the Oxford and District Trades Council, Asylum Welcome, Students Action for Refugees (STAR) Oxford, and the local branch of Stand Up To Racism.

They chanted, “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, “Keep Campsfield Closed” and listened to speeches.

From 1993 to 2018 asylum seekers and other migrants were locked up in Campsfield.

In June 2022, the Home Office announced plans to reopen and expand the centre from 282 to 400 beds. The Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed swung into action.

Geoff Taylor

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