The EIS has written to the Scottish Government and to the Health & Safety Executive, urging them to act on the case of two North Lanarkshire schools - Buchanan and St Ambrose High Schools - where significant concerns over the health and safety of pupils and staff have emerged.
In the letters, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS believes that when employees raise significant and legitimate health and safety concerns that employers should act swiftly and positively by conducting tests to allay their fears."
"In addition, employers should be open and timeous in sharing of information and reports with health and safety representatives from trade unions. Unfortunately, this has not been our experience in this instance. North Lanarkshire Council has not responded quickly enough nor adequately enough."
Mr Flanagan continued, "The EIS in North Lanarkshire had to resort to making Freedom of Information requests to gain access to health and safety information and reports which should have been readily provided under the provisions of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977. This only served to generate suspicion and mistrust while increasing anxiety among employees of the Council."
Mr Flanagan went on to add, “North Lanarkshire Council remains liable for ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of both pupils and staff in buildings and in the workplace and for taking whatever steps are necessary to provide the appropriate information on request to health and safety representatives from trade unions."
"I would request that you investigate this and confirm whether you are of the view that North Lanarkshire Council has complied with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon it by or under the relevant statutory provisions."
Today's meeting of the EIS Employment Relations Committee, which decided to write to the Scottish Government and the HSE, also considered evidence from North Lanarkshire Council on the safety of the schools concerned and agreed that any teachers who are concerned about their health should have access to medical support.
The EIS will also continue to support individual members with legal casework associated with this case – the detail of which will remain confidential.