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Trade Union representatives are lobbying West Lothian Council to demand school staff are treated fairly.

They are unhappy at the treatment of non-teaching staff in West Lothian schools and are demanding that their voices be heard.

Support workers, admin staff, cleaning and catering and facilities management staff in schools returned to work a week earlier than expected this summer in West Lothian when the Scottish Government decided all schools would return on the same date.

The joint trade unions have written to the leader of the council and the chief executive.

Unison say that their complaints were being ignored by a local councillor when they attempted to reach out for dialogue.

They said: “Unison and the other trade unions representing school staff who are not teachers made a proposal to add a week to next year’s summer holiday to make up for this year’s early start.

“Education services then changed their proposal without any discussion with the non-teaching unions and submitted a report, proposing random dates throughout this academic year, to the Education Executive.

“When this was discovered the chair of the joint trade unions wrote to Councillor David Dodds, chair of the Education Executive demanding that the report was withdrawn until there was consultation with the joint trade unions.”

However, the council say they are keen for dialogue and have changed their policy and will now be consulting with the non-teaching unions in future.

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “It has never been the practice to seek the views of non-teaching unions on the setting of session dates in previous years.

“However, going forward, non-teaching unions will be consulted on future proposed changes, particularly as we appreciate the tremendous efforts made by your members during this difficult period. The non-teaching Trade Unions have been advised of this change.

“The council consults parents, head teachers and the Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

“National Conditions of Service give the LNCT a role in setting teacher holiday periods within the agreed session dates. In each year the council plans for schools to be open for the same number of teaching days, as required by regulation.

“In setting session dates, the over-riding concern of the Education Executive is to set a pattern that will maximise opportunities to raise attainment and achievement for all pupils.”

Councillor Dodds told the Courier that he has now responded to the joint trade unions and says he was personally always in favour of non-teaching unions being consulted.

www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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