Tayside school cleaners threaten strike over ‘atrocious’ conditions

7th of October 2021
Tayside school cleaners threaten strike over ‘atrocious’ conditions

School cleaners in Tayside are threatening industrial action over a proposed pay rise and their "atrocious" working conditions.

Members of the GMB Scotland union have complained about school chairs piled high with rubbish plus toilets and sinks blocked with paper and food. And they claim they are having to clear up used lateral flow tests and discarded face masks on a regular basis.

GMB Dundee branch representative Stephanie Smith has informed Tayside Contracts of her intention to ballot members on strike action.

"Some of the conditions the cleaners are coming into are atrocious," said Smith. "There are masks and even lateral flow tests lying about, it's absolutely shocking.

"The cleaners I have spoken to feel as though they are being totally overlooked all the time. It feels like they are being completely disregarded as key workers."

Cleaning and catering staff have had to remain in their posts throughout the pandemic, even when schools were only open for the children of key workers.

Cleaning staff members earning up to £25,000 a year have been offered a pay rise of £850 by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities - an offer that has been rejected by GMB Scotland.

"For a part-time, term-time worker this will equate to maybe 90 pence a week which is pretty unacceptable," said Smith.

Concerns have also been raised about the rising number of Covid cases in Scotland's schools and the potential danger this could pose for families of catering and cleaning staff.


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