Teachers face the possibility of industrial action from Glasgow schools over calls to implement distance learning before and after the Christmas holidays.
A ballot of all members has been initiated by the Glasgow branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s largest teachers’ union.
In the run-up to and after Christmas, EIS leaders said Glasgow City Council had declined their offer to switch teaching and learning to remote online platforms to minimize the risk of infection.
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They argue that since schools work in a Tier Four region of COVID constraints, the council has refused to consider switching to blended or remote learning.
The vote notes that this is an indication that the local board feels that the council is not completely performing its obligation of care to employees.
The ballot for all candidates of the EIS employed by Glasgow City Council in pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools is open until midday on Monday. Members will be asked if local official industrial action with the employer should be announced.
The local executive committee recommends that the vote be “yes” on the ballot.
If a requirement to announce a disagreement with the employer remains, that declaration will be made before another industrial action ballot is determined by the EIS.
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Susan Quinn, EIS Secretary of the Glasgow Branch, said, “Since the pandemic began, the EIS has been trying to work with the employer to ensure safe workplaces. Our members care deeply about the education and safety of Glasgow’s children and young people.”
“That’s why they understand that ‘at all costs’ schools and educational facilities do not remain open.
We clearly asked the council to consider moving to distance learning for a few days before and after the Christmas holidays, which is within their power to do, and to set out their triggers and strategies for distance learning and blended learning. So far, on all counts, the council has declined.
“We want to achieve an outcome that ensures the safety of our members so they can continue to deliver high-quality and supportive education.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said, “We are committed to working with our staff and professional bodies to make our schools and nurseries as safe as possible in these challenging times and amid the ongoing global pandemic.”