Unite the union continues to back the original decision made by Greenwich council to move classes online from today (Tuesday 15 December).

Unite accused the education secretary Gavin Williamson, who has ordered the south London council to keep the schools open, of ‘a lack of forward planning’.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said“We fully support the original difficult decision taken by Greenwich council.

 “We all want to see children back in school. However, the action taken by the council shows something that the government has lacked throughout this crisis – a coherent forward planning strategy.

“If local health experts can see that action needs to be taken to deal with rising infections, then why wait until things get worse?

“We have previously made the point, when the government chose to rely on the likes of the controversial outsourcer Serco, that local health experts must be utilised fully – they know their communities best with a good understanding of cultural sensitivities.

“Rather than education secretary Gavin Williamson threatening the council with legal action for taking a common sense measure based on forward planning, the government should be concentrating on getting its own house in order.”

Unite national officer for local government Ian Woodland said: Unite has been calling on the government to allow local councils across England to be allowed to make their own decisions, depending on the individual circumstances in their locality.”

 “Local councils are in the best position to make decisions to protect their communities.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.