UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Glasgow school staff in fourth round of action

Glasgow school support staff are lobbying the city council today in a fourth round of strike action over the imposition of healthcare duties to their roles. The strike in the north west of the city is part of a programme of area based action by 1,000 workers running since 31 October.
    The action by pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers is against the council’s decision to force all pupil support assistants to undertake specialist healthcare tasks in addition to their core duties.

Carol Ball, Education Convener for Glasgow City UNISON, said: "Strike action is seen as a last resort for our members, but we are determined to do what it takes to get the council to sit up and listen.

“Our priority is our pupils and to be asked to administer medicine to children with little or no training is absolute nonsense. Parents, teachers and head teachers know that schools would crumble without the hard work and dedication of school support staff and to force them into this difficult position is both unfair and unnecessary.

“The council needs to get back around the table and put the needs of the children first.”

Glasgow City Council are expecting PSAs to undertake specialist health care tasks and administration of medicines in addition to their core duties of supporting the delivery of education. The council describes the monitoring and administration of care for pupils with asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylactic shock as ‘low level tasks’.

UNISON argues that these new roles and responsibilities should be assigned to a higher grade but there has been no offer of increased pay for all PSAs, instructors or care staff for the administration of medicines. PSAs are currently paid an annual salary of £11,800.

In addition, some PSAs are being asked to deliver what the council describe as ‘higher level tasks’ These include: blood glucose monitoring, injections, gastronomy tube/peg feeding, tracheostomy care including suction, catheterisation and catheter care. UNISON believes that these are tasks which should be delivered by professional healthcare workers.