PRESS RELEASE 20 November 2020
Sheffield’s Education Trade Unions call on City Council to act now!
Stop COVID infection rates rising and spreading into the wider community!
Sheffield’s Education Unions representing teachers, lecturers and support staff in our schools and universities have combined to write to Sheffield City Council Leaders urging action to make them safe and stop the rising spread of Corona Virus into the wider community.
“Sheffield TUC supports the call from NEU, UCU, UNISON and UNITE to make our schools and universities safe” said Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield TUC on the day the joint letter* was sent to Cllrs Julie Dore and Abtisam Mohamed. “Our education workers in Sheffield are speaking out and must be heard. It was a big mistake not to include schools and universities in the current temporary lock-down to arrest the spread of the virus into the wider community” he added.
The Trade Unions point out that teachers and non-teaching staff have worked hard to keep students, young and old, in education during the pandemic, often at great risk to themselves and suffering stress from additional work. Martin Mayer said “But there is much more that needs to be done. Where possible, education for university students must go online, and students should not be forced to stay in expensive student accommodation when it would be safer to work from home. In schools, we need much more space to accommodate class sizes, and that means using spare public buildings and employing more teachers. We need to reducing bubble sizes and mixing even further, so that when COVID outbreaks occur, the risk of infection spreading to the wider community in minimised. Where is the roll-out of support for low income families to access laptops and wi-fi so that education can be given online when needed? At both our schools and universities, rapid testing is essential and must be brought in as soon as possible” he added.
The Trade Unions are calling for an urgent meeting with Sheffield City Council so that an action plan can be devised and implemented. “By working together – trade unions and the Council- we have a chance to do two things: ensure our children and young people get the education they need, and arrest the spread of the virus into the wider community” said Martin Mayer.
For more information, please contact Martin Mayer Secretary on 0776 1078482
SHEFFIELD NEEDS A PAY RISE! Campaign
“The message to all low paid workers is clear” said Martin Mayer “join a trade union!” Any workers who want to discuss how to do this and get help organising should get in touch with Sheffield TUC in the first instance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a message on our Sheffield TUC Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Sheffield-TUC-136443963099901/