Striking Suffolk primary school staff will take their jobs fight directly to county councillors next week as they hand in a 600-strong petition at the council’s HQ.
Hundreds of parents and Sudbury residents have signed the petition urging Pot Kiln Primary leaders and the council to abandon plans to sack classroom assistants and midday supervisors.
The school says it needs to cut nearly a quarter of support staff hours to cope with a projected 8% drop in pupil numbers and £75,000 deficit.
But UNISON warns the level of cuts is totally disproportionate to the forecasted fall in class sizes, pointing out that the threatened staff play a vital role in children’s learning, particularly at Pot Kiln where there are a large number of students with special educational needs.
Staff have already taken two days of strikes to defend their jobs and will walk out for a third day on Wednesday (3 May). Workers will travel to Ipswich where they will hold a demonstration outside Suffolk County Council’s headquarters, Endeavour House, and hand in their petition.
The union says it will be forced to call further strikes unless progress is made on job losses and has asked the school to bring conciliation service Acas in to facilitate talks.
UNISON Eastern regional organiser Winston Dorsett said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support shown by parents and members of the public during the strikes so far.
“Parents of children with special educational needs whose kids are set to lose vital one-to-one support next year have told us they’re fully behind the strike to save jobs and many students have made it clear they don’t want to see staff go.
“But staff don’t want to be taking action: they want to be supporting children to learn. It’s vital the school and council listen to parents’ pleas and save these jobs.”