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Pupil support staff in Highlands to vote on strike action

Pupil support staff in Highlands to vote on strike action

Inverness - Image credit: Pixabay

Pupil support staff in the Highlands have voted overwhelmingly for a ballot on strike action over what they’re calling “stealth cuts” to additional support needs (ASN) service delivery, the GMB union has confirmed.

In a consultative ballot of GMB Scotland members, 93 per cent voted against Highland Council proposals for the re-deployment of 63 additional support needs staff across the local authority area.

The staff re-deployment plan is part of a plan to reduce the budget by £700,000 across ASN services in Highland schools in 2019, with a further £1m a year in budget reductions planned for 2020 and 2021.

Local GMB representatives said the re-deployment plan could leave already hard-pressed staff faced with the prospect of unmanageable work-life balance changes.

GMB Scotland senior organiser Drew Duffy said: "GMB members have overwhelmingly rejected their employer’s stealth cuts plan for the future of additional support needs delivery in our schools.

"For years our members have been working longer and harder with less resource and for less pay in real terms; a challenging working environment isn’t getting any easier and these proposals are the final straw for many staff.

"We warned the council their plans were unacceptable and ignorant of the realities of employment within the Highlands region, never mind running roughshod over any work-life balance commitments of our members.

"When an employer attempts to impose a flawed process that’s driven by cuts and not consultation, they cannot be shocked when the scale of rejection against them is so significant.

"Our message to the council is clear: Listen to the voice of your staff and our members – step back from these proposals and let’s talk about the future of service delivery together to avoid the real possibility of industrial action."

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