UNISON Eastern welcomes firefighters’ support for education workers

UNISON Eastern has welcomed the Fire Brigades Union Eastern Region’s backing for education workers opposing the reopening of schools.

Nine unions representing teachers, support staff and heads issued a joint statement this month urging the government not to push on with increasing pupil numbers until it is safe to do so.

In a letter to local education unions, FBU regional chair Cameron Matthews says: “You are the custodians of the nation’s children, we trust you and we know you are insisting on these measures due to your compassionate concern for the welfare of our children, their families and the wider community, as well as the risk to teachers, their colleagues and their families.”

He also thanks education staff for continuing to look after the children of other key workers during the pandemic.

“Without this, our members and other key workers would not have been able to continue delivering our frontline response needed to keep the country moving,” says Mr Matthews.

“Regardless of what some media outlets may write about you, we already think you are heroes for the valuable work you do in your contribution to the collective national effort, both now and before the pandemic.”

UNISON Eastern acting regional secretary Tim Roberts thanked FBU Eastern Region for its solidarity.

“Firefighters are expressing the views of most of the public, most education workers and most parents. Independent groups of scientists have also spoken out agains the government’s plans.

“Ministers should see the groundswell of public opposition and abandon its arbitrary 1 June deadline. We need proper tracking and tracing before we can send children back.

“On behalf of the thousands of UNISON Eastern schools staff worried about what will happen in a a week’s time, I’d like to thank the FBU for it support and solidarity.”

Letter in full