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Face mask ‘double standards’ leave school staff exposed

15 Jul 2020
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Why do school staff have to wear masks on the bus to work and in shops but are actively discouraged from wearing them in workplaces, asks GMB Union?

GMB, the union for school staff, has written to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson to challenge him over ‘double standards’ in Government advice on the wearing of face masks.

The union is questioning the Government’s decision to ‘actively discourage’ wearing masks in schools in England - while expecting staff to wear masks on public transport and shops on the way to and from work.

GMB is demanding consistency and clarity for school staff left confused and unsafe at work by the Government’s advice.

The Prime Minister said this week members of the public should wear masks if they are ‘going to be in a confined space... to protect other people and to receive protection in turn’.

GMB is calling for Ministers to provide “clarity and consistency” for our valuable school staff, and ensure PPE, including face masks, are available and can be worn by staff in schools wherever required.

Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer said:

“It's plain common sense that workers in schools should be allowed to wear face masks and be provided with them if they are required.

“Changing the rules for buses and shops to enforce the wearing of masks while actively discouraging those working in schools from even wearing them is causing untold confusion.

“We have stated throughout the pandemic that our members deserve safe workplaces and the way to do that is to ensure that school staff are protected in line with scientific advice and common sense.

“It’s time for the Gavin Williamson and his colleagues to rethink their position, provide clarity and consistency for our valuable school staff, and ensure PPE - including face masks - is available and can be worn by staff in schools where required.”

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