Strike threat as 58 Sheffield school staff face axe

GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
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Dozens of ‘vital’ support staff are set to be axed and others will have their pay and conditions downgraded in Sheffield schools.

The GMB trade union is considering strike action in response to the plans to cut 58 non-teaching workers at 19 schools. A further seven schools are set to downgrade staff.

Peter Davies, GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, said: “The council has issued to the GMB a redundancy notice covering the loss of 58 jobs.

“The GMB believes the situation is much worse than the council either realises or is admitting and that there are more to come.

“Our union has not been consulted in good time in most cases, and certainly not since December as the council is claiming.”

Mr Davies added: “The standstill budgets and, in most cases, reduced budgets in Sheffield schools are now starting to bite. This is proof education is no longer protected from austerity measures.

“GMB is in discussions with the teaching unions and, in most cases, teachers are simply unaware they’ll be losing vital support staff come September.

“At many of these schools it would appear the proposals are to get rid of some jobs altogether and to downgrade the role of many teaching assistants who remain.

“GMB are consulting with members at all these schools and there is a lot of anger among staff. We cannot rule out industrial action to halt this attack – and the number of schools involved grows each week.”

Jayne Ludlam, Sheffield Council’s executive director of children’s services, said: “The council can confirm that, as required by law, the trade unions have been consulted by a small number of schools regarding potential redundancies.

“The schools have been working with the council on an ongoing basis and consultation on potential redundancies has taken place at our regular forum with trade unions since.”

The schools’ identities have not been revealed.