The long running dispute between janitors who are members of UNISON and Glasgow city council has taken a new turn. Previously jannies had gone on strike over the refusal of the council to pay extra money for duties that involved janitors cleaning up unpleasant items like vomit. But things have taken a new turn over plans to have a team of janitors flitting between various schools with no-one permanently based in any school. It’s called clustering.
UNISON and the jannies have rightfully pointed out that this constitutes a health and safety risk to the kids and is a cut too far by Glasgow City Council and the facilities company Cordia who employs the janitors. Thompsons Solicitors are the lawyers for UNISON in Scotland and we fully back the union and the janitors in their concerns over the safety of our children due to these cuts. It’s one thing to deny these hard working and vital workers in our schools extra cash for unpleasant duties but it’s even worse when these workers have to go on strike over health and safety fears.
Brian Ashe is a janitor in Carmunnock Primary. He spoke with the Evening Times about the kind of problems that arise. “In one school a child was sick at 9.20 on a Friday morning he said and it wasn’t cleaned up until Monday morning. It was coned off and the children were still in the class.” He added: The clustering is a terrible idea. it is a health and safety bomb scare.”
Obviously this isn’t acceptable and it raises the question is this simply just a cut too far? Surely these men and women who provide a vital service in our schools are worth more than this? Surely the wellbeing of our kids is worse more than this?
Disappointingly the city council gave this response to the Evening Times "As we have said time and time again it’s the head teachers who are responsible for the health and safety in their schools not janitors. So the allegations made by the unions about health and safety concerns are inaccurate."
Perhaps it’s time that all of us as council tax payers say to our local councillors we think you need to think again on this issue. Janitors are the people in our schools who go unseen but the jobs they do are vital. Maybe it’s time parents in Glasgow speak out and support them.