A NEW deal for teaching assistants in County Durham is due to be considered by councillors at a meeting next week.

The details of the deal have not yet been finalised but are expected to be released on Monday, before being discussed at a meeting of Durham County Council on Wednesday.

The dispute, which has now been running for around 20 months, centres around changes the council wants to make to the school workers' contracts to avoid equal pay claims from other employees.

Final discussions are now going on between the council and trade union Unison, which represents the majority of the authority's 2,400 teaching assistants.

Teaching assistants across the county took part in industrial action last year after voting to reject the council’s previous proposal to move them to term-time only working, which they say would have resulted in pay cuts of up to 23 per cent.

A short report issued by the council ahead of the meeting says: “It was hoped that the final offer would have been included in this report at the point at which papers were dispatched.

“However there are a small number of issues that require further discussion although it is hoped that these will be resolved in the near future.

“The detail of the offer will be communicated to council as soon as it is finalised with the recognised trade unions, and in any event in advance of the council meeting.”

If approved by council, the proposal will be subject to consultation with trade unions and teaching assistants.

The proposal will be considered this month to ensure teaching assistants will know the details and vote on whether to accept it by the end of the summer term.