Cuts Watch #298: The School Support Staff Negotiating Body
Michael Gove has announced the abolition of the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSNB). The SSNB was set up by the Labour government to develop a national standard for the pay and conditions of 450,000 caretakers, teaching assistants, canteen and clerical workers and other non-teaching staff. The workers filling these positions have often been underpaid and under-valued; many of them are women and one of the SSNB’s jobs was to address the many equalities issues that have been building up for years.
In his statement, Michael Gove justified has planned legislation on the grounds that
the SSSNB does not fit well with the Government’s priorities for greater deregulation of the pay and conditions arrangements for the school workforce. I therefore propose to introduce legislation to abolish the SSSNB at the earliest opportunity.
“Greater deregulation” is not a phrase that will have reassured the staff concerned. UNISON, the GMB and the teaching unions have condemned the move and pointed out that it is still not clear how the government’s pledge of a £250 pay rise for low-paid public sector workers will be guaranteed for support staff – this move will make it even harder to provide such a guarantee.