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Below is a copy of the letter being sent to UNISON members in Plym Multi Academy Trust

Dear Sisters and Brothers

Following the TUPE transfer of you school employees from the local authority to Plym Multi Academy Trust, the new employer is not legally bound to follow any collective agreements like the national pay rates as they are not part of negotiation on them. However, in practice, the vast majority of MAT’s do continue to follow the national pay rates for school support staff (NJC – National Joint Council for Local Government Services).

Unfortunately, your employer Plym MAT have just weeks ago informed UNISON that they feel they are not in a financial position to honour the NJC pay award and have taken the option to make a ‘counter offer’ (see attached) and split from national pay bargaining in favour of local pay.

In simple terms the offer is a 1% pay award to all support staff backdated to 1/4/2018 and an additional 1.5%  to be awarded from 1/9/2018 and reviewed annually thereafter, which appears to mean your next pay review date will move to September 2019.

This means you will not get the second year of the award you agreed to that would lift all staff up to a minimum of £9 an hour in line with the Living Wage that you should receive in April 19.

They have agreed a pay uplift for the lowest pay scales to ensure a minimum hourly rate of £8.50 per hour from 1/9/2018. This offer is below the levels of the NJC pay award for all but the lowest spinal point and five months late even for them.

The unions recognise the financial pressures on all schools due to a lack of adequate funding from the government, but we are nonetheless disappointed that Plym should chose to seek to make savings from the pockets of the lowest paid staff. Nearly all other schools in the country have already paid up and the teachers pay deal which is funded and will rightly be honoured.

Unison recommends that you reject this offer and demand meaningful negotiations.

However it is for you, the members of our union, to decide whether this offer from Plym MAT is acceptable to you.

We have requested that that Trust write to all support staff to explain the rationale behind their counter offer, and we strongly encourage you to read this thoroughly and ask the employer any questions you may have.

We also recommend you request a meeting at the school of union members to discuss what is going on. Please contact the office if you want to arrange this of have any other questions.

Once you have read the employer’s reasoning behind the offer, please complete and return the attached ballot paper by the 19th December.

As this offer is less than the NJC pay award, none of the unions are willing to recommend that you accept this offer. If a majority do vote to accept the offer we will inform the Trust of your decision. If a majority vote to reject, we will hold an urgent meeting with senior management to discuss a way forward in the new year.

It is management’s decision to implement their proposals in December without waiting for agreement from their staff. We are clear that this is pending the outcome of the ballot and does not bring matters to a close or prevent us seeking a higher rise should members vote to reject the deal.