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Teachers make a stand for health and safety

22 June 2019

ON FRIDAY, members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, at Buchanan High School in North Lanarkshire started their seven planned days of strike action over the failure of the employer to act appropriately to address health and safety concerns.

Members at St Ambrose High School, who share the site, will also be taking four days of action next week.

The NASUWT has been engaged with the Council to seek action to address the deep concerns of members, asking for a full site survey and early closure of the school site to enable this work to start.

Ms Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said, “This strike action could have been averted if the Council had engaged fully with the NASUWT when we raised these issues months ago.

“Our members are suffering deep stress and anxiety about their health and welfare due to the failure of their employer to take the necessary action to provide assurances about the safety of the site.

“While the independent review promised by the Scottish Government is a welcome development it still does not commit to a full comprehensive site survey which tests the water, air, soil and fabric of the building.

“Teachers are deeply anxious about whether there is any link between conditions at the school, including the blue water, and a range of health issues among staff.

“The site survey should be commissioned immediately and as the end of term is only a matter of days away, the schools closed to enable the work to begin and at least give teachers and indeed pupils and parents some respite from the daily anxiety of having to attend the school site.

“As the local authority has refused to act to protect teachers the NASUWT will."

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said, “The NASUWT is taking this strike action in order to protect the health and safety of its members.

“This strike action is the result of the failure of the Employer to fulfil its legal duty of care to its staff.

“Our members are deeply worried about the safety of the campus they work on and have little confidence in the statements made by the local authority that the site is safe.

“We thank those parents and other members of the school community who have shown support for the strike and who stand with the NASUWT in calling for immediate and robust action to address these issues and to make sure the health of staff and pupils at the campus is safeguarded and prioritised.”