Scrapping school jannies will put safety at risk claims union

North Lanarkshire Council headquarters
Council cuts: Unison's North Lanarkshire branch plan to go into talks with council officials against the cuts to janitorial services.© STV

A union has accused North Lanarkshire Council of putting school pupils at risk through cuts to school services.

Unison say that proposals to make savings on janitors would “reduce health and safety” in schools across the area.

It is concerned that the cutbacks, which could see cuts of almost £1.5m to janitorial services over the next three years, would put pressure on staff.

John Mooney, branch secretary of Unison North Lanarkshire, said: "These proposals would reduce health and safety within schools in North Lanarkshire due to cover being stretched thinner and opening and closing times of school buildings being reduced.

"The council are not looking at the bigger picture in terms of the vital service that these members provide. Reductions in line with the proposals would mean that no-one would be in schools early to ensure that playgrounds are salted in times of bad weather or to check that the classrooms are safe for pupils arriving.

"It seems that every time the council look at savings our janitorial members are first on the hit list.

"We will be lobbying key council officials and elected members to ensure that maintaining these vital services and jobs are the priority."

It is a move that will also be made by the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Defend Public Sector Jobs and Services Campaign, who met on Monday night to discuss how the cuts would affect schools in their area.

Isaac McCleary, an English teacher at Abronhill High School in Cumbernauld, said: "The janitorial staff are essential to school life and I imagine it would be hard for schools to function smoothly and safely without their services."

Under the proposals, a further £600,000 of cleaning costs would be under review, including the reassessment of cleaning supervision in secondary schools.

A North Lanarkshire Council spokeswoman said: "As the consultation is ongoing and no decisions have yet been made, it’s not appropriate to comment on individual savings options.

"Any submission from Unison will be considered alongside all other comments."

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