Relations between teachers and education bosses in Glasgow have taken a dive after a union said school leaders had been instructed to block parental or sick leave on next week’s strike days.

The industrial action, which has been planned by Unison, GMB and Unite, covers cleaners, catering teams, pupil support assistants, support for learning workers, janitors and maintenance employees in every early years, primary, ASN and secondary school in the city.

Council leaders have said all schools will remain open for teachers and that secondaries remain open for pupils and teachers.

However, the Glasgow local association of the EIS union has had reports that education managers have told principals not to approve teachers’ parental leave on September 6, 7 and 8 unless in “extreme exceptional” situations.

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The EIS said it had also received reports that headteachers have been told to mark teachers as taking strike action if they are sick or go on parental leave during the strikes. This, the union adds, would lead to a loss of pay and potential disciplinary measures.

Council bosses have insisted there was no intention to say that teacher sick pay would be withdrawn and do not understand how that impression was given. They added that "normal rules" in this area would apply.  

But Susan Quinn, EIS local association secretary, said: “The EIS is firmly in support of these school strikes and we stand in complete solidarity with our sister unions. Schools cannot, and should not, be operating with only teachers present.

“This is dangerous and does not provide a suitable learning environment. It is abhorrent that the council should think it appropriate to open secondary schools without the appropriate and relevant support staff. Other local authorities are taking a less antagonistic approach by closing schools to pupils and teachers on strike days, in the interests of protecting their health and safety.”

She added: “It is a further example of poor industrial relations in the council that they are now taking, in effect, secondary action against teaching staff by restricting their terms and conditions during industrial action which they cannot lawfully participate in, according to UK government anti-union legislation.

“If our members cannot legally take strike action because they haven’t been balloted - yet - how can the council use other unions’ strike ballots to cancel sick leave and parental leave for teachers? Worst, perhaps, of all is that we know this instruction is verbal to headteachers and in direct contravention of written guidance which has been issued. We believe this to be a breach of terms and conditions, and potentially discriminatory.”

HeraldScotland: Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, said schools should be closed.Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, said schools should be closed.

The EIS said it was emailing advice to members across Glasgow with the union’s position on what to do during strike days.

Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, stressed that schools should be closed on health and safety grounds while industrial action is taking place.

She added: "The staff who will be taking industrial action play a vital role in ensuring the health and safety of pupils and staff, so it is difficult to see how schools can open safely during this time. Where a headteacher or council takes the decision to open a school on a strike day, they must be able to demonstrate clearly that this can be done safely without any risk to the health and safety of pupils or staff or the security of school buildings.

"The EIS has issued information to members regarding the support staff strike, including the very clear advice not to carry out any work normally undertaken by a member of support staff engaged in industrial action."

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A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “There was no intention to say that sick pay would be withdrawn. We do not know how that impression was given and we are happy to confirm that normal rules around sick pay will apply.

“We have been liaising with our secondary school estate contractor AMEY of their contingency plans and we will continue to discuss the concerns of the EIS and reassure them and take appropriate action if required in schools which we intend to keep open.

“Teachers are not being asked to do anything different from all council employees who were not part of the unions’ ballots in respect of attending their place of work or caring arrangements.”