A ROW has broken out between union officials and Glasgow’s education chiefs just days before back-to-school plans are due to progress.

UNISON has written to its members to say that the "next steps" proposed by council bosses should not go ahead as the local authority is moving too quickly to produce a thorough risk assessment.

However, Glasgow City Council thoroughly disputes the claims, saying it has engaged extensively with staff, parents and the unions.

A letter from trade union bosses reads: "Having now met with council officials, UNISON is of the view that the next steps proposed by the council from June 8 should not go head as the timescale does not allow for the proper involvement of the trade union and the workforce in the production of Risk Assessments and Covid-19 Secure planning."

The letter goes on to outline four areas of concern: that a review of the current Hub model in schools, where children of key workers are being cared for, is undertaken; that the union is provided with the education-wide risk assessment; and that adequate cleaning provision cannot be in place for next week; and that the council is pushing those who are clinically vulnerable or pregnant to return to their workplace.

It adds: "UNISON has sent the above points to the council and asked that no further changes are made from June 8.

"We await their reply.

"In the event that UNISON's concerns are ignored we advise all UNISON members to maintain their current working arrangements next week.

"UNISON will provide full support to all members in these circumstances."

The dispute centres on plans that come into force on Monday for teaching staff to go into schools to discuss how to run lessons after the coronavirus lockdown.

Council bosses said not all staff are expected to go into work at once but should attend in small groups and for those who travel on public transport, times should be staggered to help maintain social distancing.

From Monday, hubs will no longer be working and children should be looked after in their own school or nursery by teachers or support staff on a rota to supervise them.

Almost all staff are expected to be on the rota and the council said this change was requested by head teachers.

The council also said its health and safety team has been working on risk assessments for each sector and work with the union to address concerns where any head teachers do not apply safety advice.

UNISON's letter adds: "Fourthly, the council is pressurising those who are clinically vulnerable or pregnant to return to their workplace from June 8.

"The Scottish Government Guidance says that these workers should stay at home if they can."

In return, the council claims it is asking staff to attend school, where safe to do so, for individual risk assessments.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We are not asking staff in schools and nurseries to do anything more than what other key and essential workers have been doing throughout this health crisis.

"We are also not asking for all staff to return to work in June – we want staff to come back safely to prepare for children’s return in August.

"Our staff have been doing invaluable work throughout lockdown to support our children and young people – in the childcare hubs, planning learning or supporting remote learning.

"The Scottish Government has now outlined the plans on the opening of schools and nurseries including the return of the majority of teachers and school staff from Monday, June 1 and pupils from the August term.

"We’ve engaged extensively with the trade unions, staff, parents and pupils to make sure that procedures are in place to allow our staff and children to return safely to schools and nurseries."