Council to decide future of janitors in private

Balmuildy Primary
Balmuildy Primary

Councillors are to meet in private this week to discuss the withdrawal of school janitors in an effort to 
reduce public spending.

East Dunbartonshire Council will convene behind closed doors tomorrow (Wednesday) to vote on the latest round of cost-cutting measures.

Among them are plans to replace school janitors with junior assistants, and to hire new ‘cluster managers’ to supervise the system off site.

The managers are to be based at local academies or high schools as a pool for numerous sites. Meanwhile, the new assistants will carry out only some of the duties currently performed by school janitors.

Councillors had originally planned to hold the vote in June of this year but the meeting was postponed until after the summer recess.

The proposals were first greeted with anger among some parent groups, with the Balmuidy Parent Council organising an online petition.

A statement from the group said: “For us, probably the most disconcerting thing about the proposal is the fact that this sorry business is to be carried out in secret.

“We find it deplorable that this issue has not been presented and discussed openly with the Parent Council Forum.”

Ann Davie, the council’s director of customer services and transformation, said the proposals are part of the organisational development (OD) process which has been conducted in private since 2008.

She also claimed employees, head teachers and trades unions have been consulted on the plans over the last 12 months. She said: “We have been in discussion with trades unions for almost one year now and have also carried out employee and stakeholder engagement sessions to inform development of the new delivery model.

“Our employees have had the opportunity throughout the process of engagement to raise any concerns regarding proposals and the feedback has been taken into consideration.

“In addition, an engagement session has taken place with head teachers, who have all had the opportunity to comment on options.

“This review will be taken forward as part of a report to the council on organisational development. This latest report will be in private and as a result, it is not possible to discuss the content before the next council meeting.

“This is in accordance with the Standing Orders of the council.”