Councillors Richard Ormerod, David Freeman, Carole Lattin, Rob Hanson & Helen Weston

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Elvet, Crossgate, Highgate, Sidegate, St Nicholas and Gilesgate Bank Learn more


by Elvet & Gilesgate Lib Dems on 16 May, 2016

57 Labour councillors lined up today to approve the dismissal of 2,700 teaching assistants in County Durham. They will then be offered their jobs back – minus 10% or more of their pay.

Lib Dem councillors all voted against.

There were several very interesting sub-stories to be seen however.

Where were the rest of the Labour councillors?

39 of the 96 Labour councillors were not in the chamber to vote. Some of us wondered whether Labour’s top brass called for a “named vote” in order to have something to beat the opposition with, or because they wanted to know exactly who they were going to have to whip into line in their own group. Time will tell.

Why did Councillor Napier duck his question?

Having stated that he had only become aware of the equality issue in teaching assistant’s pay contracts a year ago, Councillor Napier (the most senior politician with responsibility in this area) didn’t answer the question of why that was since the report said that the problems had been known since 2012.

It rather begs the question of who runs the council?

How did Councillor Jane Brown, Portfolio Holder with responsibility on the council’s side, get hold of Unison’s legal advice?

The council has jealously guarded it’s own’s legal advice in order that it cannnot fall into “the other side’s hands”. So how has “the other side’s” legal advice (She even mentioned the solicitor’s name, Thompsons) been provided to the employer?

Presumably this has nothing to do with the unions having free accommodation from the county council, together with part payment of union officials’ salaries!


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