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 UNISON trade union members employed as janitors in Glasgow’s primary, nursery and additional support for learning schools will take further strike action next week. The five day strike will begin on the first day of the new school term.

The strikers will protest outside the city chambers on Monday and Thursday and leaflet parents at the school gates every day.

The janitors began industrial action on 19 January 2016 by boycotting weeding, litter picking, snow clearing, salt spreading, leaf clearing, heavy lifting, spillage clearing and animal clearing. Schools cleaners, catering staff, education support workers, teachers and headteachers have all been advised by their trade unions not to undertake the duties which the janitors are boycotting.

Since March, the janitors have taken nineteen days of strike action in an escalation of the dispute.  UNISON says its members have been left with no option other than to take this action as both Cordia and the Council are wrong and refuse to listen.

Cordia, an ALEO of Glasgow City Council, is refusing to pay a Working Context and Demands Payment (WCD) to school janitors and is using spurious arguments to justify not making this payment. There are five levels of annual WCD payment ranging from just over £500 to over £1000.  

The council is now undertaking a “review” of janitorial services across the city with the impact on jobs, wages and conditions unknown and no timescale for its completion. UNISON is very clear that the janitors meet the criteria to be awarded the WCD payment, with the review meetings to date being a bit of a “pantomime”. 

Brian Smith, UNISON Branch Secretary, said:

“ The payment due to our members for these duties means that they lose earnings of £500 to £1000 every year.  We are sure that parents will understand that it would be wrong for this unfairness to continue.

“ Cordia has spent thousands of pounds every month since January 2016 trying to undermine our official boycott of the duties through the use of non-trade union replacement workers. They would be better getting round the table and sorting out our legitimate claim.”  

UNISON says that during the strike action certain practices have come to light that they consider potentially detrimental for pupils and staff health including:           

a lack of daily fire tests and trained, competent fire wardens/schools being left open and unattended/ no evidence of any amendments to premises Fire Risk Assessments/ a lack of daily heating plant checks/ untrained staff loading coal into fires/ untrained staff opening schools and leaving them unattended/ cleaners covering janitors duties/ litter picking not being completed/ after school care/ evening school lets unattended/ a lack of daily boiler house checks/ asbestos logs not being completed for external contractors.

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