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GMB Union pickets Medway Council meeting over holiday pay


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Union members have picketed a council meeting for a second time in a row over holiday pay.

GMB Union staged a protest outside Medway Council's meeting last night asking it to be more generous with the package of compensation which has been offered to term time only workers.

GMB Union members picket Medway Council over term time only workers' holiday pay settlement
GMB Union members picket Medway Council over term time only workers' holiday pay settlement

The offer – received by part-time workers in a handful of Medway schools – affects holiday pay they have lost following a change in the way this is calculated.

This was introduced in April 2020 following a legal challenge lodged by UNISON members against Greenwich council.

Medway Council said it would follow the new guidelines and compensate those eligible a backdated sum of up to two weeks gross pay if they have worked for them for two years or more.

But the union was not happy how neighbouring authority Kent County Council (KCC) offered four weeks for those who have worked for four years or more.

Teaching assistant Karen Turner said: “I’m here to ask the council the question, why as a Medway employee I’m only worthy of two weeks pay for our term time only offer instead of four weeks which is what everyone who works for KCC got.”

Cllr Martin Potter
Cllr Martin Potter

A members' ballot was held last month and a meeting took place between the union, council representatives and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The union has rejected the offer but UNISON members voted to accept.

During the meeting, the council's portfolio holder for education and schools, Cllr Martin Potter (Con), took questions from union members and councillors on the matter.

He said the council's offer was more generous per person than KCC's offer, adding Medway doesn't have the reserves to fund further compensation and school's budgets would be impacted if it offered more.

He said individual members will be consulted on whether they accept the offer.

Cllr Clive Johnson (Lab) said: "I think it's shameful of this administration that it values these key workers so poorly."

Cllr Clive Johnson
Cllr Clive Johnson

A spokesman for the council said: “We are continuing to work closely with local educational leaders across Medway and employers will be contacting members of staff individually with a personalised offer.

"Our offer is more generous than national legislative frameworks. We are also continuing to liaise with ACAS to ensure a fair and consistent process remains in place.”

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