concern for Northern Ireland schools reopening GMB union

concern for Northern Ireland schools reopening GMB union

18 August 2020

GMB union in Northern Ireland say reopening of many schools leaves many vital questions unanswered

The Joint Negotiating Trade Union Side consists of NIPSA, UNISON, GMB union and UNITE representing over 15,000 Support Staff employed across the entire Education Sector, we are gravely concerned about the arrangements for the reopening of schools.

“JNC Trade Union Side (TUS) has reviewed the New School Day guidance issued by the Department of Education for the reopening of schools and it leaves many vital questions unanswered. We all want to see the safe reopening of schools but also insist that it will be done in a responsible manner. The consultation process with TUS has been a shambles and the final product completely unfit for purpose, for example, the guidance accepts that the Department of Health maintains the need to adhere to 2metres social distancing but the NI Executive has decided to abandon this for schools and school transport services. This anti-science approach is dangerous and is devoid of logic. The promised mitigation measures have so far failed to materialise and there has been no advice provided on Test, Trace and Protect for school transport services.

TUS calls for the maintenance of effective and safe social distancing of 2 metres in all schools and transport services and we demand that the Health and Safety of our members are not sacrificed in the haste to reopen schools. This pandemic has demonstrated the infectious nature of the Covid19 virus and now is not the time to abandon scientific advice and ignore best practice.

Jim Donley (GMB union)

GMB North West & Irish Region