Statement on Schools

Posted in Branch news

UNISON share the huge concerns expressed by members about recent rushed and late government announcements on the return of schools in England and mass testing, over the next two weeks. 
In particular members in primary and special schools in higher tiers, with increasing infection rates have expressed their anger and fears at the Government’s drive to re-open schools from Monday 4th January.

As we saw before Christmas the government is ready to use its legislative powers to force schools to open, even against the advice of local public health teams.

Taking into account the ongoing crisis and rapidly changing and precarious infection rates across the UK, we are in discussions with sister unions about joint work.

However rapid changing government policy and very strict legislation, makes some options such as immediate national industrial action (which includes strikes, boycotts, work to rules etc) unviable in the ridiculously short timeframe that the government has dictated for re-opening.
We are however, looking at other areas linked to the health and safety rights of staff and will issue further advice as soon as possible –  this will include reviewing our advice on the use of section 44/100 for those in tier 4 areas who feel they face serious or imminent danger. 

In the meantime, staff with underlying health conditions or vulnerabilities, or who live with someone with underlying conditions, should seek medical advice from their doctor about risks to them returning to work, and contact their school to make a request to work from home.

We are determined to do all we can to protect staff, pupils and education.  Please keep an eye on UNISON’s Facebook page and the UNISON website for updates.