Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

31/01/09 Back to school for Lancashire West MP Rosie Cooper next

IT’S back to school for Lancashire West MP Rosie Cooper next week!

The Labour MP is swapping her seat in Westminster for a desk at Ormskirk High School to work alongside support staff Kath Vincent and Linda McMullin.

Kath and Linda are both members of public sector union UNISON, which challenged all North West MPs to have a go at doing the jobs its members do.

UNISON represents more than 1.3 million members, making it the UK’s biggest public service union.

With councils across the country cutting pay and axing jobs, it is hitting back at accusations its hard-pressed members earn too much, have ‘gold-plated’ pensions and are cushioned from the credit-crunch.

Rosie Cooper will spend the morning of Friday 6 February shadowing Linda in her job as Assistant Office Manager and Kath in her role as Assistant to the Learning Managers of Years 9 and 10.

Office Manager Sue Cocks said the school hoped the swap would give the MP a valuable insight into the day-to-day running of the 1400+ pupil school.

She said: “Life in a school is extremely hectic and staff work non-stop. We hope Rosie Cooper will gain a good understanding of the challenges Linda, Kath and other support staff face daily.”

Frank Hont, Regional Secretary of UNISON North West, said he was delighted Rosie Cooper had accepted his invitation to gain hands-on experience of the real world of work in the public sector.

He said: “UNISON represents 350,000 education staff including teaching assistants, administrators, secretaries, bursars, technicians and learning mentors.

“We have been campaigning long and hard to make sure the contribution these workers make is recognised and want decision-makers to recognise this for themselves."

“The government is in the process of introducing a national pay and grading structure for school support staff and so it is particularly important for MPs to understand the work going on in schools at this time.”

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