Union to visit classrooms to highlight employment rights to pupils: 

Union reps prepare to go back to school to teach pupils about workers rights

Union will train members to visit classrooms throughout Scotland to highlight employment rights to pupils

TRAINING for a project aimed at educating secondary schoolchildren on workers rights will take place this week.

Sessions for potential union representatives to be trained for the Unions into Schools project will be held at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) building from 11.00am this Wednesday.

Hosted by Scottish Union Learning (SUL) and Better than Zero (BtZ,) the event will train reps to go into classrooms across Scotland as part of the Young Workers’ Learning Project, run by the SUL.

“The emphasis is on participative learning, involving classes in discussion, negotiation and developing opinions.” Sarah Collins

Project administrator Sarah Collins said: “The Unions into Schools project has been running for a number of years, with trained reps working with classes and teachers to ensure that young people have an improved knowledge of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

“The reps visit over 70 secondary schools every year to provide flexible teaching suitable for a range of ages and abilities to highlight the importance of collectivism as part of the curriculum dealing with enterprise, careers and citizenship.

“The emphasis is on participative learning, involving classes in discussion, negotiation and developing opinions. We believe that by providing an enhanced understanding of the workplace we can play a part in equipping young people to be successful, not just in their working lives, but in wider society.”

Collins told CommonSpace that representatives visited over 100 classrooms across Scotland last year.

Speaking to S2-S4 pupils, the initiative focused on employment rights and campaigning.

The project visits schools all over the central belt and even reach a classroom in Orkney via Skype, where they always receive positive feedback.

In addition to visiting classrooms direct, the project plans to invite pupils to the STUC building on 8 December where the theme of the day will be “standing up for yourself, standing up for others”.

“We believe that by providing an enhanced understanding of the workplace we can play a part in equipping young people to be successful, not just in their working lives, but in wider society.” STUC

A letter from the STUC to schools states: “The emphasis of the resources is on participative learning, involving classes in discussion, negotiation and the forming of opinions.

“We believe that by providing an enhanced understanding of the workplace we can play a part in equipping young people to be successful, not just in their working lives, but in wider society.”

Better than Zero is an STUC-led workers rights group that has led many successful campaigns since its inception in 2015.

Mainly dealing with employees in the hospitality sector, BtZ organises flash mob demonstrations on premises where staff are having problems with employers, including unpaid wages, making sure staff receive the correct tips and helping staff exploited by working unpaid trial shifts.

It has succesfuly campaigned against millionaire Stefan King’s G1 group, coffee chain Tim Hortons and Mooboo.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald told CommonSpace earlier this year that he will consult with BtZ as he puts forward a Private Members Bill in parliament to ban unpaid trial shifts.

Picture courtesy of Scottish Union Learning

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