Tue 15 Dec, 2020

The Scottish Government have let down teachers and pupils at every turn during this pandemic Ross Greer

The Scottish Greens have given their support to teachers in West Dunbartonshire, Fife and Glasgow who have announced a formal dispute with their employers over concerns that they have not been provided a safe working environment in schools.

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer, whose ‘Safe Schools’ proposals were agreed by Parliament last month but have not yet been delivered by the Scottish Government, has called for ministers to step in immediately to address the serious safety concerns raised by teachers across the country.

Ross Greer MSP, who represents West Dunbartonshire, said:

“I am not surprised that teachers have voted this way and they have the Greens’ full support for having done so. As I told Parliament last month, extremely vulnerable teachers have been bullied back into classrooms against the advice of their GPs, many teachers are not even being told when one of their pupils has tested positive and, as predicted, social distancing has proven impossible in most schools.

“The Scottish Government have let down teachers and pupils at every turn during this pandemic, failing to offer them regular testing, dumping the mammoth burden of operating track and trace on schools themselves, without providing the extra staff they desperately need and delaying inevitable decisions on everything from face-masks to the 2021 exams.

"Parliament passed the Greens’ Safe Schools proposals a month ago to avoid precisely this kind of dispute, one which teachers have not started lightly but which they are entirely justified in. The Education Secretary needs to listen to teachers’ concerns and act, as Parliament has instructed him to do.”

EIS lecturers at colleges have also voted for strike action in a consultative ballot over concerns that qualified posts are being replaced with instructors on a lower pay grade.

Mr Greer said:

“Every year college management finds a new way to undermine the agreement on lecturers’ pay and conditions which they signed up to. The latest attempt, replacing lecturers with ‘instructors’ paid less to do the same job, shows just how little they value their staff.

"The Scottish Government have ducked this issue for too long. As public bodies, Scotland’s colleges are accountable to ministers. It’s long past time that John Swinney step in to end this backsliding on an agreement which should have been honoured long ago."

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Ross Greer MSP said: