THE UNION for public service workers has voiced their concern over the decision to sack approximately 22 lollipop wardens, despite a promise from Birmingham City Council’s to keep wardens at ‘priority sites’.
A decision is due on Tuesday (March 1) to decide whether the wardens will lose their jobs, however staff have already been told that they will be sacked unless schools agree to pay £5,100 per year to fund costs.
GMB, the union for public service workers, successfully campaigned to overturn the council’s decision to axe wardens from the borough last year.
Now, GMB is continuing to save the wardens from redundancy in fear that lives could be at risk if crossing patrol jobs are cut.
Gill Whittaker, regional organiser, said: “Our successful campaign last year to save the jobs of the lollipop wardens gathered huge support from the public resulting in Birmingham City Council agreeing to keep wardens at ‘priority sites’.”
The protest resulted in Birmingham City Council pledging to continue in directly employing 22 borough school crossing patrol wardens – and a further 158 wardens in Birmingham – working on sites where there is high risk.
Statistics gathered in 2014 show that out of 2,628 road accidents, only five occurred near crossings operated by school crossing patrol wardens.
Gill added: “It is disappointing that the council now appear to have done a U-turn and the school crossing patrol wardens are again at risk of redundancy.
“The public will not appreciate the council reneging on an agreement to protect the 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.
“Wardens save lives and GMB will fight to keep them – this is why we campaigned last year and why we are re-launching our campaign now.”
Coun Brigid Jones said: “We are not just looking at school crossing patrols when it comes to road safety – it’s important to realise that they are just one piece of a massive jigsaw of road safety.
“We have put over £400m the last few years into other measures like 20mph zones, improved cycle ways and safer routes to school schemes, that are there 24/7 to protect people.
“We are going to be looking at every individual site to look at the existing road safety measures that we have invested in and also whether there are additional things we could be putting in before any decision on withdrawing any individual patrols will be made.”
Schools in the borough that could lose their crossing patrol wardens are:
Chilcote J & I
Hobmoor J & I
Yorkmead J & I
Hall green infant
St Ambrose Barlow