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Staff cuts leading to dirty BC schools, CUPE survey

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Survey finds more than 55 per cent of staff don't believe they're able to maintain a clean and safe school

Union says janitorial staff don't have enough time because of cutbacks and over-worked conditions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Cuts to janitorial staff are leading to dirty schools across the province, according to the preliminary results of an ongoing survey by the public sector’s union.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)¬†survey, which has garnered responses from around one third of the province’s custodial staff, found 55.4 per cent of staff don’t believe they’re able to maintain a clean and safe school.

“There is not enough time due to cutbacks and over-worked conditions to get the job done,” CUPE president Paul Faoro says.

Some of the issues include not having enough time finish and having to clean larger areas in less time. Staff said some work is simply not being done because of “unrealistic workloads.”

Staff also complained of not having anyone to cover for them in the absence and suffering stress related injuries and illness.

Fairo says the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling to making classes smaller will only increase the need for cleaning staff, as schools require more space.

“There is going to be a need for more classrooms,” Faoro says. “We also need to be looking at making sure there’s adequate and proper support staff including custodial work. You just can’t add classroom space without looking at the entire system.”

Staff at the Ministry of Education say they are not in a position to comment as the writ is still active.

The survey wraps up at the end of the month.