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Caretakers putballot on hold.

Byline: By Phillip Nifield South Wales Echo

School caretakers who claim they are being treated as 'second-class' employees have put plans to vote on a strike ballot on hold - for the time being.

The GMB union in Cardiff said it was not pressing ahead with the vote - which could have forced the closure of many schools - after management agreed to a series of talks. Union leaders had drawn up a list of 18 grievances which they wanted tackled by the authority.

Kenny Daniels, branch secretary of the GMB union, which has around 85 members among caretakers, said: 'A series of meetings is being arranged with the issues of greatest concern to the members being dealt with first. The ballot was authorised, but we have decided not to press ahead with it at this time. Obviously a lot will depend on how the grievances we have are dealt with by the authority.

'The council appears to be taking these issues more seriously, but if there is any deliberate dragging of feet, then we can resort to the ballot. My members want an end to second-class treatment..'

The grievances include:

The need for clear guidelines for payment of extra work carried out in schools at heads' request

Complaints about the poor condition of caretakers' homes not being dealt with

Caretakers having to pay people out of their own pockets to act as key holders at schools when they are on holiday

Claims some headteachers are failing to meet time-scales concerning grievances and disciplinary policies

Greater use of schools for community use is restricting the ability of caretakers to take their holidays

Last month the council said that it was aware of the concerns and was proposing to set up a sub-group to make progress on the issues.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 17, 2006
Words:295
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