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Teachers set to return to 'blue water' schools as strike ends

Union members are due to go back to work at the campus on Friday after health advice from experts.

Buchanan High: Teachers to return on Friday.
Buchanan High: Teachers to return on Friday.

Teachers on strike at a school campus built on a former landfill site are set to return to work after being reassured by experts over health concerns.

Four teachers developed bladder cancer and a number of pupils complained of becoming unwell at Buchanan and St Ambrose high schools, in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, after incidents of blue water coming from taps.

Parents and teachers had raised fears of links between possible chemical exposure and illness among workers and pupils.

NASUWT members began industrial action on Monday - when staff were supposed to return to work following the summer holidays.

However, members of the teaching union are due to return to the schools on Friday after a meeting with the health and safety experts on Wednesday.

'Our experts have advised that they believe that the remedial action taken on the campus, particularly in relation to the water system and the commitment to ongoing, regular testing, enables them to advise that NASUWT members can return to work.'
NASUWT

The union said detailed consideration was given to the Review Group's Report, supporting documentation and current test data.

It advised action taken on the campus, in relation to the water system and the commitment to ongoing, regular testing, enabled them to be able to advise members to return to work.

The NASUWT said: "Our experts have advised that they believe that the remedial action taken on the campus, particularly in relation to the water system and the commitment to ongoing, regular testing, enables them to advise that NASUWT members can return to work.

"Discussions are now underway with the Council for a planned return to work of NASUWT members on Friday. Meetings will be taking place tomorrow with the Council to prepare for this."

The General Secretary of the NASUWT said the union is "reassured" by the experts' comments but said there are still a number of issues to be addressed.

Ms Chris Keates, said: "It is reassuring that our experts believe that the remedial action that has been taken has now made it safe for our members to return to work.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1439936-teachers-strike-at-blue-water-schools-goes-ahead/ | default

"However, there are still a number of important issues which need to be addressed.

"The ongoing health issues being experienced by some of our members, including those diagnosed with bladder cancer, remain of deep concern.

"It has yet to be demonstrated that these are not linked to the conditions on the site in the months and years before the recent remedial actions were taken on the water system and other aspects of the working environment.

"Only this week yet another NASUWT member tested positive for elevated levels of arsenic. The NASUWT and its lawyers will be continuing to pursue these, and any other cases which present themselves, with the Council.

"The NASUWT also believes that support will be needed for staff from the Council, not least to address the deep stress and anxiety that they have suffered over a long period of time, which has taken its toll on their physical and mental wellbeing.

"Whilst NASUWT members may be returning to work, the NASUWT is not withdrawing its current industrial action ballot and will not do so until we are confident that all of the recommendations in the Report are being implemented fully and we have had a series of air, water and gas membrane test results that confirm that there is no deterioration of the position, following the remedial work recently undertaken.

"I will be meeting with the Council next week for further discussions to ensure that the progress which has now been made is maintained going forward."

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