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Striking ‘blue water’ school campus teachers to return to work on Friday

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Teachers who have been on strike over fears of “blue water” health risks at a school campus are to return to work on Friday.

NASUWT members began industrial action on Monday – when staff were supposed to return to work – due to concerns at Buchanan and St Ambrose high schools in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.

Most pupils returned on Wednesday, although a small number at Buchanan were unable to.

Parents and teachers had reported blue water coming from shared campus taps and raised fears of links between possible chemical exposure and illness among workers and pupils.

This led to an independent review being set up, which found no link between the schools – which were built on former landfill site – and illness.

After seeking expert advice, the teachers’ union has announced its 36 members will return to work on Friday.

Chris Keates, acting general secretary, said: “It is reassuring that our experts believe that the remedial action that has been taken has now made it safe for our members to return to work.

“However, there are still a number of important issues which need to be addressed.

“The ongoing health issues being experienced by some of our members, including those diagnosed with bladder cancer, remain of deep concern.”

The union claimed another of its members tested positive for elevated levels of arsenic this week.

Ms Keates said the union’s industrial action ballot will not be withdrawn until there is confidence that all of the review recommendations are fully implemented fully.

NASUWT also wants a series of air, water and gas membrane test results that confirm that there is no deterioration of the position.

Ms Keates will be meeting the council next week for further discussions.