The impact - earnings drop from £8,891.67 to £5,845.84 a year.
* * *
Barnet Council began consultation with coach escorts who provide a service for children with special educational needs (SEN) on 2 August 2013.
The impact could see the majority of the coach escorts’ earnings drop from £8,891.67 to £5,845.84 a year.
The following are a number of accounts from coach escorts describing the work they do.
“Some people say my job is cushy sitting on a bus transporting disabled children to school. This is not the case. I work for Barnet Transport and as an employee I have to be fully qualified to escort these children, attend courses and have certificates to prove I have passed these courses. Some of the disabilities our children have range from “ADHD, Autism, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, wheelchair users, the list goes on.”
“We are the eyes and ears for the council as we work on the front line dealing with parents and the needs of the children who have a range of different disabilities. Some are extremely challenging and others are calm. Most of us are attacked on a daily basis, many of us have been punched in the face and stomach, kicked in kneecaps and legs, hair ripped out and our clothes torn to shreds.”
“Although we are trained to deal with this and calm the child down it is not always possible and we have to seek medical attention. We always complete a council monitoring form when an injury occurs but often no action is taken and the child remains travelling on the same bus. If a child is high risk we sometimes need to use a harness which keeps them in their seat but some children can get out of them. Agency Escorts are also used and should be fully trained the same as council escorts but there have been instances where they don’t know how to put a harness on a child, or clamp a wheelchair securely onto the bus.”
“The council cuts our pay and hours but there are an increasing number of the children travelling on the bus. The council needs us to continue our excellent services. Escorts are only part time, if our money is cut further as they propose, then qualified escorts will have to seek other employment which would leave the children with agency escorts who are not as qualified.”
1. Most coach escorts work a maximum 20 hours a week, although many would like to work more.
2. There are approximately 160 coach escorts providing this service. According to figures provided by the council 83 are directly employed by the Council the rest are agency workers.
3. Most coach escorts earn up to £8,891.67 a year
A message of support from Barnet Alliance
To Barnet coach escorts and council staff
Barnet Alliance for Public Services will actively campaign to oppose Barnet Council’s immoral plan to reduce your pay. Barnet Alliance also regrets the council’s signing of the contracts with Capita, forcing some of you to move or lose your jobs. Although we have not been able to prevent this from happening, we assure you that we will continue to fight to bring public services back in house.