Scottish Government school reform plans could ‘pile further pressure’ on support staff
GMB Scotland has today (Tuesday 30 January) warned the Scottish Government that proposals to reform the management of schools could pile further pressure on the working conditions of non-teacher staff.
Responding to the Scottish Government consultation, ‘Empowering Schools’, GMB has also said that measures calling for the fragmentation of local authority control over education services could open the door for increasing privatisation.
GMB has campaigned extensively over the last year to highlight rising levels of abuse and assaults against classroom assistants in our schools and increasing levels of pay disparity among janitorial and cleansing staff as a result of PFI.
Freedom of Information research previously conducted by GMB Scotland showed an average of 35 incidents of violence and aggression per school day recorded against 13,000 school support staff while pay gaps of up to £1.00 an hour exist among janitorial and cleaning staff in council’s like South Ayrshire.
GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Drew Duffy said: “There is real worry amongst our members that a power shift from the local authority to regional bodies or individual head teachers could lead to the increasing privatisation of their jobs and services.
This would pile further pressure on already hard pressed staff – the rising levels of abuse, assault and pay gaps of up to £1.00 an hour between staff performing the same duties are the untold story of the Scottish education system.
It’s time the voices of our school support staff are heard. They support pupils with additional needs, administer essential medicines; they keep our kids fed and their schools clean.
Unfortunately this consultation fails to recognise and respect the roles of our support staff and it’s a missed opportunity by the Scottish Government to start meaningfully addressing the challenges and inequalities affecting these vital workers.
Ultimately it is investment that’s needed in our education system, not a reshuffle of decision-making responsibilities against a backdrop of continued austerity and declining performance.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Drew Duffy on 07912 560806 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.
Notes to Editors: