More shameful behaviour from Labour-run Durham County Council over the last week.
Not satisfied with their attempts to cut TAs pay by upto 23%, they have blocked a motion by my fellow Lib Dem councillor Owen Temple, which would have seen TAs reinstated until their new contracts are redetermined.
The council has used some ridiculous excuses in the past to stop democratic debate over this and other issues but this one really took the biscuit!
Firstly they wouldn’t allow the issue debated at full council next week because it was too political! Yes – a political meeting, where motions are put and debated can’t debate – the argument that its coming up to an election. Yet election restrictions don’t start until days after the full council meeting. A disgraceful attempt to stunt democracy by Labour. It’s getting like North Korea down there – except perhaps I’m not allowed to say that either……
The second reason put by the councils legal team on why they won’t allow the motion to be debated is that it might put Labour councillors at risk following the totally unacceptable death threat against them sent to Durham Police.
Hold on a minute – so someone sends a letter to the police and democracy is immediately shut down – No chance – we live in a democracy and we will not allow threats to stop proper democratic debate. And we will not go down without a fight. This is just an excuse so Labour councillors don’t have be forced to vote again in the appalling manner they have become used to – against teaching assistants, against the people of County Durham.
The final reason we can’t have a debate on this issue – which we are still trying to get our heads round is that we can’t reinstate teaching assistants because we might make an unlawful decision.
Owen’s response to this is worth repeating here in quotes:
“If that is the case, how could we have been given a vote in the first place, because that carried exactly the same risk? And if the termination of contracts cannot be withdrawn, what exactly is the goal of the negotiations which council, unions and Teaching Assistants are currently engaged in? Is it any wonder that Teaching Assistants think their dispute has just been kicked into the long grass beyond the election, and that once the election is out of the way the Labour run council will just return to business as usual?”
Never a truer word spoken Owen – this is another attempt to shut this issue down, but I do not believe the public will accept it. Labour’s disrespect for these public sector workers begs the question: What is the point of Labour? **
** There isn’t one!
Teaching assistants are set to march on the 25th through Durham to Redhills. Support them by joining them if you can. If you can’t make it, please help make sure you spread the word that regardless your political beliefs, in this May’s elections, a big message is sent by kicking Labour out of County Hall once and for all.