Derby

Derby City Council's police threat over union school strike balloons

People on strike
Image caption A number of strikes have taken place in Derby over the school pay dispute

A city council has threatened to call the police if balloons and stickers, bearing a union's name, are handed out to school children during a pay strike.

The row is over Derby City Council's plans to change school support staff contracts, which Unison said would see them lose £6,000 a year.

The union accused them of "escalating" the dispute by involving police.

The authority said it reserved the right to alert the force as its priority was to "safeguard children".

The two-day industrial action is due to end on Friday.

'Pressing matters'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "It is a ridiculous notion that these dedicated members of staff who work with children day in, day out, are now somehow putting them at risk by simply handing out stickers.

"The police undoubtedly have more pressing matters to deal with."

Two days of industrial action have begun at about 70 schools in Derby with five closing completely as a result.

Unison said the row was sparked after the council announced plans to only pay school support staff during term-time.

The authority said it was part of its "equal pay review" and affects all council employees.

On Wednesday, teaching assistants in County Durham voted to strike after rejecting a pay deal some claim would see them lose up to 20% of their salary.

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