Union warning on janitor cuts

A TRADE union which represents more than 7,500 workers at North Lanarkshire Council has hit out at plans to reduce janitor services at local schools.

The local authority has suggested it could axe up to 35 janitors as part of proposals to save £73.3 million over the next three years.

John Mooney, branch secretary of Unison North Lanarkshire, said janitor services are necessary to ensure schools stay safe and he accused the council of not looking at ‘the bigger picture’.

He said: “These proposals would reduce health and safety within schools due to cover being stretched thinner and opening and closing times of school buildings being reduced.

“The council is looking at cutting our members’ hours and in some cases making redundancies in an attempt to save money. It is not looking at the bigger picture in terms of the vital service that these members provide.

“Reductions in line with the proposals would mean that no-one would be in schools early to ensure that playgrounds are salted in times of bad weather or to check that classrooms are safe for pupils arriving.

“It seems that every time the council looks at savings our janitor members are first on the hit list.”

The branch organised meetings with members in Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld last month to discuss the planned cuts and over the coming weeks will be in talks with council officials and elected members.

Mr Mooney added: “I want to assure our members in this difficult time that Unison will be working on their behalf.

“We will be lobbying key council officials and elected members to ensure that maintaining these vital services and jobs is the priority.”

Unison members can stay in contact with the branch by visiting www.unisonnorthlanarkshire.co.uk.