The Council should look to make the funding permanent so people are not facing cuts again a year from now says GMB.
GMB, the union for school support staff, welcomed the guarantee by Birmingham City Council that there will be no school crossing patrol job losses next year after launching the School Crossing Safety Trust. See GMB press release dated 2 February re threat to 180 jobs.
And council leader, Cllr John Clancy, is continuing talks with businesses and other potential partners to fund the service in future years.
Cuts to the service were among budget proposals published in December but Cllr Clancy stressed his preferred option was to launch a trust to fund crossing patrols in future years.
The city council leader said: “We made it clear during a very tough budget process that we were looking for a way of funding school crossing patrols and enhancing school crossing safety.
“We were in a situation where we probably had to consider losing some school crossing patrols in terms of funding unless we decided to come up with another way of doing things.
“So we’ve made some recalculations after a very late settlement from Government and we’ve decided that there will be no redundancies this year in this service.
“But we can’t keep going through this every year so we’re going to continue to develop the Trust model. We need to reduce the costs to the Council and to that end I’ve already had encouraging talks with potential partners and will continue to work on this important area.”
Gill Whittaker, GMB Organiser said “We welcome the stance that has been announced by the Council. However we need to have assurances that they are not in this situation a year from now. The Council should look to make the funding permanent, so people don’t have to go through this again.
The Council could have delayed the announcement to the staff but instead chose to put people through unnecessary stress and pressure.
GMB’s campaign has been successful 2 consecutive years and hope that we do not have to revisit it again next year.
GMB will keep a close eye on The School Crossing Trust and the leader of the Council.”
Jack Dromey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Erdington, said “Parents, teachers and all those concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our community’s children will celebrate the news that school crossing patrols are to be maintained. I praise the Labour run Birmingham City Council for putting the safety of children first.
The council should not be forced to pick and choose which crucial programme to maintain but that is what the Conservative Government is forcing them to do. I believe the Council has made the right decision by putting the safety of our children first.”
Notes to editors
Copy of GMB press release dated 2nd Feb 2016
GMB ANGER AS BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL RENEGE ON PROMISE NOT TO SACK 180 LOLLIPOP WARDENS PLACING LIVES OF SCHOOL CHILDREN AT RISK
Decision due on 1st March but staff have already been told that they will lose their jobs unless schools agree to pay the £5,100 per year to fund costs of warden says GMB
GMB, the union for public service workers, pledged to mobilise public opposition to the decision by Birmingham City Council to place the jobs of 180 Schools Crossing Patrol Wardens at risk of redundancy. The City Council is planning to make a decision on 1st March 2016.
Gill Whittaker, Regional Organiser, said “GMB ran a campaign last year to save the jobs of the lollipop wardens. The successful campaign gathered huge support from the public resulting in Birmingham City Council agreeing to keep wardens at 'priority sites'.
The council pledged to continue to directly employ around 180 School Crossing Patrol Wardens working on sites where there is an identified high risk.
It is disappointing that they now appear to have done a U-turn that the School Crossing Patrol Wardens are again at risk of redundancy.
The proposal is not due to be approved until next month but staff have already been told that they will lose their jobs unless schools agree to pay the £5,100 per year it costs to fund a warden.
Statistics gathered in 2014 showed that, out of 2,628 road accidents recorded in Birmingham, only 5 occurred near crossings operated by School Crossing Patrol Wardens. GMB are very concerned that this figure will increase if the wardens are cut.
The public will not appreciate the council reneging on an agreement to protect School Crossing Patrol Wardens working in high risk areas.
GMB will always fight to protect vital public services. We think that keeping children alive and well is an absolute priority.
That is why we campaigned last year and why we are re-launching our campaign now.
School Crossing Patrol Wardens save lives and GMB will fight to keep them.”