Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Union - good idea or more trouble than worth it?

I bogged this and meant to put here:

I am a teaching assistant and have worked for my school for many years. Since I have become ill my work have been reasonable and fairly supportive, but the meetings I have had about my absences have been fairly informal, being spontanious with no warning, one to one and minutes coming later. This may or may not have been in my favour.

Two weeks ago I was told that a meeting had to be held that day. This time we went to another room and there were two of them. It was a fairly rushed meeting although they were careful to make sure I understood that they were trying to be fair. They had kept my FM labelled sick notes separate from my FM ones and tried to deal with only the sick ones. However, as I had been off so much I was coming to the end of what they could do for me and they would have to call in the County Personnel Officer saying she was really nice to reassure me. I work for an academy [school] which is partially run by them.

Since then, I have hurt my back, once at work and once from Hydro Therapy from which I am still recovering. So I expect the meeting to be called when I return.

What should I do? My union are willing to send someone to support me but need details to form a 'case'. I do not want to stir a hornet nest up unless I need to though.

Do I need them or am I making things worse?

I tried to get an Advocate but they have yet to come back to me.

I know I am coming to the end of work of this kind as I am having difficulty getting about and can bearly manage a week. I am in pain by the end of the school day so even considering reducing my hours would not really help. I have been advised and have looked into what a Medical Retirement could mean for me and feel that is the best option. However if I reduce my hours and then accept this the final payout will be substantially less.

I await your advice.

Soft hugs

7 Replies

Hi Sarah-Jane, Can I just ask whether you reported the back injury that happened at work i.e. did it go in the accident book? and can I ask whether the second injury happened whilst you were having therapy for the first? Not that it makes a lot of difference to the answer to your question. If it were me I would be getting the union as involved and as soon as I possibly could. If they are any good they will know all about disability discrimination and should be able to help and support you better than anyone else. You could also get in touch with your Social Services department and see what help they can offer. Also, if they give you a date for a formal meeting, you need to let them know you need time to arrange for a union rep to attend. Hope that gives you a bit of hope. Chin up and go get 'em


Thank you. No the first injury did not go in the accident book, but I think maybe it should have. I was surprised no one suggested it and throught that I was at fault. There was nothing wrong with the equipment. It was the way I got down. However I will ask for it to be noted when I return on Monday.

Soft hugs


Thank you I will contact work and let them know I have involved the Union and will finish the paperwork the Union have asked for. I do not have a rep on site. No one wants the job! I have an old friend who used to be the rep some years ago, but she is close friends with someone who betrayed me, so I don't completely trust her.

I appreciate your opinion and hope it works out. I think work will again be shocked that I have stood up for myself as few do here. A few years ago 3 women fell on the stairs, seperately, all damaged their knees and none sued. All have permanent damage but prefer to keep their jobs. Anyone who rocks the boat is soon gone. They make your job hateful until you leave. Such as promoting someone over you when you have experience! So although I loved the place, the love is waning. Still love the kids though.


As an ex union rep I I believe you should get the union involved. Contact the Head Office if you are concerned and they will support you. You need the support of the Regional Office as this has gone past local level and there are trust issues.

Try to get as much in writing especially copies of any of the meetings as they will have everything written down.

Schools policies and procedures are there for both the staff and the school and not there to be used against you. Good luck :)


Thank you. I have copies of emails in a file at work and my pigeon hole holds copies of my sick notes. When I can get back to pick these up [Monday] I will let work know I have contacted the Union and will need warning of any future meetings so they can be in attendance.

I feel this is rather confrontational so I am nervous even though I know I am doing nothing wrong. I have a right to have representation and if I choose for that to be the Union, which they know I belong to, then I really have no reason to be nervous.

Maybe they went softly softly before to prevent me from feeling I needed support, but I feel we are coming to the end of the road, whatever I do I am going to lose my job so now I just need to secure my rights.

Thank you for your support and advice.

Soft hugs


Hi Sarah-Jane, I jiust read your other blog and have put a response on there xx


Thanks. Just responded. =) Soft hugs


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