Opinion Former Article

NUT Cymru highlights supply worker concerns at TUC Conference

NUT Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to work closely with Local Authorities in Wales to tackle the continuing problem of eroding rights for supply teachers. NUT Cymru, Wales’ largest Union for qualified teachers, says that some supply agencies are seeking to avoid their obligations under the Agency Worker Regulations.

A motion put forward by the Union at the TUC Wales Conference in Llandudno, urges the Welsh Government to help ensure that the Regulations are upheld and to work with Councils to reopen their supply pools. NUT Cymru wants to see a reduction in the reliance on supply agencies who, acting as middlemen, impose depressed wages and reduced conditions of service for teachers with little option but to access work through such organisations.

NUT Wales Secretary David Evans said:

“The concerns around the treatment of teachers undertaking work through supply agencies are very prominent within the teaching profession. Many teachers are finding that their pay and conditions are being noticeably eroded but have little option but to continue to work through such bodies as this is the only route that some Councils and schools take to fill vacancies. More worryingly, we are seeing excellent teachers leave the profession due to problems associated with working through supply agencies.

“We must do more to try and protect those teachers having to work through supply agencies and to ensure that Councils look at their own structures. It is of no benefit to individuals to have them perform a role at a reduced rate of pay and it is equally damaging to Local Authorities, schools and, ultimately, children to have demotivated teachers.

“Opening up Local Authority supply pools so that schools take on teachers directly for supply work will help bypass the problems we currently have in dealing with supply agencies in Wales.

“The recent local election results have returned many more Councils to Labour control. This gives the Welsh Government both an opportunity and a mandate to be able to work in co-operation with Councils across Wales to ensure that this issue is tackled. We would like to see the Welsh Government speaking to all Councils, in an effort to agree a way forward which will protect supply teachers. Such an agreement would, in turn, produce better results in schools across Wales. Now is an ideal time to address this widespread concern within the teaching profession.”

Notes to editor:
· To arrange an interview with David Evans please contact him on 07815 071 164

· The motion will be debated on the afternoon of Tuesday 22 May.

· The conference motion reads:

Conference welcomes the new Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) 2010 that came into effect in October 2011 and the aim to give agency workers the right to the same employment conditions they would enjoy as someone directly employed to do the same job.

However, Conference notes that some agency companies are seeking to avoid their obligations under the AWR 2010, especially in relation to the 12 week rule which guarantees that after an agency worker completes a 12 week qualifying period with the same hirer, in the same role, they will be entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been employed directly by the hirer.

Conference considers that there is a role to be played by the Welsh Government and therefore calls upon the Welsh Government to set out its intentions for working with Local Authorities in Wales to ensure that the AWR 2010 Regulations are upheld for all workers in Wales in ensuring that agency workers are not exploited.

Conference further calls on the Welsh Government to work with Local Authorities in Wales to reopen their supply pools to reduce the reliance on agency workers and the casualisation of teaching in Wales.


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