National hardship fund for Durham dispute

UNISON has today (Monday) authorised a national hardship fund to ensure that no teaching assistants on strike in Durham suffer financial hardship.

The fund, made up of an initial £150,000 will be administered by the union’s northern region.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Today I have personally authorised £150,000 from the union’s industrial action fund to support striking teaching assistants in Durham. I promised UNISON would ensure school support staff are not starved back to work. This ensures that commitment is kept.

“Any Durham teaching assistant needing financial support through this dispute will get it – from day one. Durham is a strategic dispute with a hostile employer. This national hardship fund shows the union is ready for the fight to come.”

Nearly 100 primary schools across County Durham will be affected by the two-day dispute tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday as teaching assistants strike in a long-running dispute over cuts to their pay.

On Wednesday morning the teaching assistants plan to lobby a meeting of the county council, and Dave Prentis will address a rally at noon at the Durham Miners’ Association in Redhills.