School support newsletter

Sign our petition to ensure school support workers have their voices heard on health and safety

We recently surveyed school support workers to gain insight into how these important groups of workers feel about their return to work. It is fair to say that the results highlight a number of concerns which must be addressed.

Without the work of school support workers—such as janitors, cleaners and pupils support assistants—schools would not be operational. So why do these groups of workers continue to be excluded when decisions are made around health and safety at work and information is distributed?

Sign our petition for school support workers and find out more about your rights below.

Survey findings

Our survey paints a worrying picture.

Key findings show, that of our respondents

  • 84% feel apprehensive or concerned about returning to work
  • 56% feel communication from school through the pandemic has either been confusing or non-existent
  • 79% have not been involved in all-school discussions around health and safety, PPE or risk assessments.

Have your say in the survey.

Sign our petition

We demand that CEC reassures support workers that they will be working in safe environments when returning to work and that support workers’ voices are heard at the decision making forums. These workers have a right to be kept informed about all issues relating to health and safety.

Support our petition to demand that CEC management

  • take immediate steps to provide all school support workers with health and safety information aimed at ensuring their personal safety as they return to work.
  • in Facilities Management and Communities and Families ensure that they get it right for every worker by fully involving trade union reps at all future health and safety school planning meetings. This will ensure that school support workers are given a voice and are given the information they should be receiving.

Sign the school support worker petition

Your legal right to a safe place of work

You have a legal right to a safe place of work under sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. As part of this, your employer must fully engage with your trade union around health and safety issues. Read coronavirus work advice from Unite.

Risk assessments are vital in ensuring safe wokrplaces. These should consider:

General points as such as

  • COVID-19 operational risk assessment
  • PPE availability and storage
  • signage within the workplace
  • availability and access to cleaning stations.

Access details, such as

  • car parking
  • one way systems
  • restriction on visitors
  • management of delivers
  • hand sanitiser at entrances and exits
  • start and finish times to promote safety.

Welfare facilities, such as

  • staggered breaks
  • toilets, locker rooms, rest areas and canteens
  • arrangement of chairs to promote social distancing
  • provision of an isolation area for employees showing COVID-19 symptoms until they can leave work.

Office and meeting rooms, such as

  • arrangement of desks and chairs
  • signage to promote social distancing
  • labelling rooms with the maximum number of people.

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility

We ask you to be vigilant about your health, safety and wellbeing at work. If you are unsure about your health and safety rights at work then contact us.

Raise any health and safety concerns with your line manager first, then contact us if your concerns are not addressed.

Help to keep your yourself and your colleagues safe by becoming a Unite health and safety representative. Contact our Branch Secretary or Convener to find out more and see training dates for this year.

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