Trade union claims Wigan schools are 'not safe' for students or staff

A trade union has claimed schools are not yet safe for students or staff.
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Unison's Wigan local government branch has made the warning as the council plan to expand pupil numbers on Monday (June 15).

Wigan Council produced a list of schools on Friday that stated which schools had shown an interest to open to a wider group from Monday.

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Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance suggests that all workplaces should complete a risk assessment, consult trade unions and share the results of the risk

Wigan Council will allow expanded pupil numbers from MondayWigan Council will allow expanded pupil numbers from Monday
Wigan Council will allow expanded pupil numbers from Monday

assessment with staff and on the employer’s website.

But Unison said more than 80 schools across the borough have so far failed to share a completed risk assessment.

The union said it is now extremely concerned that Monday’s return to schools will put both staff and pupils at risk.

It has written to the local authority and Labour MPs to express its concern and urge the council to reconsider its decision to allow expanded pupil numbers, given what it feels is a lack of progress on safety measures to date.

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Kay Winnard, branch secretary of the union, which represents teaching assistants and other school support staff including cleaners and caterers, said: "When the local authority

announced that it would no longer issue guidance around wider reopening we raised the reasonable concerns and fears of support staff.

“With just two days until many of our members will be expected to return to work, it is clearer than ever that Wigan schools will not be safe for students and staff on Monday.

"“We call on the council to reconsider its decision and for local schools to Trawork with us on urgently developing robust risk assessments which will help keep our communities safe.

She added: "We have alerted our members that Unison has not been consulted by schools and therefore school cleaners and caterers, teaching assistants and other support staff may be at risk.”