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News, Outside MAN

Teachers threaten not to return to blue water schools ahead of Government report

Teachers’ Union NASUWT has confirmed members will not be returning to St Ambrose or Buchnan High schools for the start of term unless the body is “satisfied the site poses no risks”.

The report of the Government’s review into health concerns at the schools’ campus’ is set to be published tomorrow.

Members of the union went on strike at the end of last term, citing the council and Government’s “failure to take concerns seriously” for their actions.

Now they are threatening not to return to the controversial site in Coatbridge next week amid “serious stress and anxiety” about health risks.

General Secretary of the the Teachers’ Union Chris Keates said: “The Council and the Government should be in no doubt that unless the NASUWT is satisfied that the site poses no risks to health our members will not be returning to work on the first day of term.

Action is being taken amid concerns over blue water at the schools and links with health issues

“Our members’ summer break has been blighted by the serious stress and anxiety of the concerns about the risks to their own and their colleagues’ health.

“All of our members either have sought or are seeking blood tests. The results already received by one member are of deep concern as they show significantly elevated levels of arsenic.

That member’s case is now in the hands of our solicitors who are pursuing personal injury claims against the Council on behalf of a number of our members.

Pending the outcome of the Report the Union has already put contingency plans in place to continue to protect members. The Council has been notified of a period of continuous strike action from the first day of term. This will undoubtedly go ahead if the NASUWT is not satisfied with the report and the Council proposes to open the schools as usual.

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“Regardless of what the test results say, all the signs of potential risks to the health and welfare of staff and pupils have been evident for a considerable period of time and yet at every stage it seemed that both the Government and the Council had to be dragged kicking and screaming to take any action, exacerbating the anxiety of those working on, and using, the site.

“The NASUWT will be looking for the report published tomorrow to, at the very least, lay down clear procedures for timely action when there are potential risks to health and safety in schools.”

A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “The council will await the outcome of the independent review before engaging further with parents, pupils, staff and their trade union representatives.”

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