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Unions blocking schools re-opening?

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Confusedbutheyho Tue 12-May-20 22:16:44

Just been off the phone to a friend who’s married to a teacher and they’re hearing a lot of conflicting news re unions.

Many are saying June won’t happen for re-opening. Is that possible that the unions veto it and stop it going ahead?

Selfsettling3 Tue 12-May-20 22:20:11

Unions don’t have that kind of power.

Bubbletwix Tue 12-May-20 22:21:20

Well I guess if no teachers show up they can’t open. Can’t very well fire them all, and even if you could they’re irreplaceable. My hunch is some face saving compromise will be found.

effingterrified Tue 12-May-20 22:25:05

No schools will be reopening.

Unions are not going to be recommending their workforce goes to work in unsafe conditions.

That is the whole point of a union.

partystress Tue 12-May-20 22:29:25

Teachers are a lot less militant than the press makes them out to be. But they do tend to like children. And living. And not taking a potentially deadly virus home to their own families. The unions are simply asking for a scientific rationale for teachers being less protected in their workplace than call centre workers or car assemblers. And for the government to acknowledge that abandoning social distancing because we think children don’t get very ill and don’t seem to infect adults very often is a huge gamble.

RoseannelovesDan Tue 12-May-20 22:31:54

The health unions didn’t stop their workforces from going to work despite inadequate PPE and travelling on crowded public transport. Supermarket staff and others never stopped. Shutting schools was a massive error, reopening them will take months of wrangling.

Eggybreadleg Tue 12-May-20 22:33:11

So far we have the second highest death rate in the world and the highest in Britain. That's what our best thinking has gotten us. Now we have a plan to open schools without any scientific rationale or a proper risk assessment. Why wouldn't the unions block this? It's madness.

OxanaVorontsova Tue 12-May-20 22:36:30

I live in an village that currently has no cases of cv, but I teach in a hotspot. If I go to work on 1 June I risk not only my health but the health of those in my village. That’s that reality. The unions aren’t blocking more students accessing school just to be stroppy, they’re doing it because unlike the government they are prioritising health over the economy.

nellodee Tue 12-May-20 22:41:08

Actually, I believe that health union advice was that if nurses did not have PPE, they should as a last resort refuse to treat patients.

ScreamingKid Tue 12-May-20 22:42:17

I heard a teacher earlier asking why is it considered 'safe' for her to teach her Reception class , but not for her to see her own grandchildren. That summed it up for me.

wonderstuff Tue 12-May-20 22:45:45

Teaching unions have no teeth, I'd imagine a significant number of young teachers aren't even in a union.
Unions are quite right to push for scientific rationale behind opening and questioning how on earth we distance 4-6 year olds! But I don't think they can actually do anything. There are some very worried teachers, but also lots of us who just want to get back to it. Schools are currently open and teachers are going in at the moment.

RoseannelovesDan Tue 12-May-20 22:45:47

@nellodee no one did. The bullying would have been horrific. Nurses were told that if they didn’t work on covid wards they should resign.

ProseccoBubbleFantasies Tue 12-May-20 22:48:17

As an ex union rep, I would expect any union to be acting in the best interests of their representatives

Good on them, cos the tories sure as hell aren't


LilacTree1 Tue 12-May-20 22:48:42

“ I heard a teacher earlier asking why is it considered 'safe' for her to teach her Reception class , but not for her to see her own grandchildren. That summed it up for me.”

The answer to that is campaigning to see relatives. If teachers said “we’re not working till we’re allowed to see loved ones” I’d back them.

OxanaVorontsova Tue 12-May-20 22:52:03

If schools pose so little risk of infection why close them to the majority of students in the first place? The government guidance published yesterday actually specifies that ppe isn’t relevant in schools, contradicting their own guidance to the rest of the population. Supermarkets have been able to impose social distancing, install screens, clean trolley handles between customers. None of that is practical in a classroom even half full of children. I’d love to be back, I miss all my classes and can’t wait to see them all again, but not until it’s safe to do so, for them, their families and for me.

Itisasecret Tue 12-May-20 22:52:14

I don’t think they will open. I think the government know it’s impossible and their guidance is a laughable shit show. This way the press and public can blame the lefty, snowflake, lazy teachers and unions who want a longer holiday. Boris the hero can then say he tried.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 12-May-20 22:52:36

Some schools won't be able to reopen due to sick or shielding staff

Plus the govt have been clear that places shouldn't open if they can't stay 2 metres apart or ensure staff are safe - each school is VERY different, some are in portacabins, some can't have one way systems, some Victorian classrooms can seat about 5/6 pupils in a socially distanced way

It is NOT going to be easy to open schools safely for 3 year groups

donquixotedelamancha Tue 12-May-20 22:53:04

Is that possible that the unions veto it and stop it going ahead?

It's not a matter of vetoing anything, unions are asking for clear information about safety. At the moment it seems like the policy is no PPE of any kind and shielding teachers being forced in. They are understandably unhappy with this.

Regardless of what unions do, many head will not be able to staff primaries because of the number of staff with childcare issues and the fact that staff will be isolating with every cough and cold.

LilacTree1 Tue 12-May-20 22:55:06

“ If schools pose so little risk of infection why close them to the majority of students in the first place? ”

I think that’s the thing baffling many people. They should never have closed.

worldweary45 Tue 12-May-20 22:55:10


I think most young teachers are in unions as they are heavily promoted by training providers and the NQT year is free

Lots of new teachers though don't want to rock the boat with their schools so will follow what their head is saying rather than following union advice

LoungeLizardLhama Tue 12-May-20 22:55:39

The Unions sure as hell are fighting to make sure nobody goes back to school/work before it’s safe to do so. But, they are only as strong as the members, if you don’t belong to a union or don’t vote and attend meetings and support industrial action then they struggle. There is a joint union negotiation ongoing around schools reopening any they are fighting hard for their memberships.

LavenderLilacTree Tue 12-May-20 22:56:20

I hope they do. I am a TA and very worried about going back to a confined space, over crowded (we could probably cope with 5 but will have to have 16) and no PPE, no one wearing masks.
I feel like a sacrificial lamb, that my life doesn't matter as the government put the economy over my life. I worry for my 4 children.

Piggywaspushed Tue 12-May-20 22:56:46

and shielding teachers being forced in.

I think the guidance is laughable but it is clear on this bit . Shielding staff should not go to school.

Judystilldreamsofhorses Tue 12-May-20 22:58:26

I teach in FE/HE. It seems bonkers that I couldn’t meet my class who are due to graduate for a picnic in the park in lieu of our usual end of course lunch, but would be allowed to go in amongst hundreds of students. Fortunately i am in Scotland.

cabbageking Tue 12-May-20 22:58:49

Schools have to do a risk assessment based on their own school.

This includes staff and site, additional cleaning.

The* hope* is for schools to open from June and not all school will be able too. There should be parent and staff consultation and it may be some schools are not ready until later. Class sizes have been reduced to 15 and hence lots of planning is underway.

Each school has their own problems to overcome and nothing is set in stone.

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