DERBYSHIRE County Council and union bosses have struck an equal pay deal for teaching assistants worth around £500,000.
Under the deal, the county council will pay just over £40,000 in full settlement of the 14 equal pay claims against the council. A further 3,000 teaching assistants - who may have an equal pay claim against the council - will receive £100 each.
This brings an end to the long-running dispute over pay rates for teaching assistants compared with some other groups of employees. If the council had lost in the Employment Appeals Tribunal it could have faced an £80 million equal pay bill, said a spokesman for the authority.
Now the unions are recommending their members agree the offer as the best that could be negotiated. They have also told the council they will not support any future claims by teaching assistants above the levels of compensation agreed.
“This is excellent news for the council, for our services and jobs. A huge cloud has been lifted,” said Cllr John Harrison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Management.
“If the worst case scenario had been realised, we would have been forced to make damaging cuts to our services and shed hundreds of jobs. That would have been on top of the £90 million and 2,000 job cuts we are already making.”
He added: “This is a common-sense solution that will protect services and jobs and means we can now focus on delivering high quality services.”
The deal follows an earlier equal pay settlement for 82 night care workers which cost around £750,000.