Date: Thursday 15 November 2007
Academy refuses talks on staff grievances
Glasgow Academy, one of Scotland's most prestigious schools, has
refused to talk to UNISON about grievances raised by low-paid kitchen
staff despite the union writing to them twice.
After weeks of waiting the school has now responded to say that
they do not want to enter in to discussions with UNISON.
Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Regional Officer said today "I am astonished
that a major organisation like Glasgow Academy has snubbed my request
to meet them and discuss serious issues affecting our members. We
represent staff who provide the meals to pupils at the school and
we have grave concerns about their health and safety and their conditions."
UNISON had raised concerns that whilst they are serving some of
the most privileged pupils in the country members were risking their
health lifting vats of scalding water due to a boiler being off
to save money. Whilst this apparently was remedied after the union
raised the issue, there is still no ventilation in the plate and
pot washing area leading to extreme heat, and staff still have to
lift trolleys with hot liquids up stairs that pupils are using.
As well as health and safety, terms and conditions are also a major
Simon Macfarlane said, "It is interesting that, since UNISON has
written to the school, management have taken steps to tackle some
health and safety hazards, which shows we are having an impact.
But I have to ask - why not sit down and talk to us? What are they
"We represent the catering assistants in the school, yet the school
won't speak to us about vital health and safety matters. These workers
are paid the minimum wage, with no sick pay or pension scheme. This
is at a school where fees in excess of £7,500 are charged per pupil
per year, more than our members earn."
"There has been much debate over the charitable status of private
schools like Glasgow Academy and the benefits this gives them. I
can certainly say there is no sign of charity at this school towards
our members. Indeed the treatment of them is Dickensian. That's
why we are calling on parents and others to pressurise the school
to meet with UNISON and discuss our members' concerns."
For further information please contact: Simon Macfarlane,
Regional Officer 07703194132 Chris Bartter, Communications Officer