Show­down in cannabis lolly dis­pute

Acas steps in to set­tle row be­tween coun­cil and din­ner ladies

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - NEWS -

A dis­pute be­tween a union and the city coun­cil over din­ner ladies al­legedly han­dling cannabis lol­lipops in Aberdeen schools is set to go to the gov­ern­ment’s ar­bi­tra­tion service.

The row be­tween the Unite union and the lo­cal author­ity erupted ear­lier this year when the author­ity ac­cused the four women of han­dling and trans­port­ing the drug-filled sweets be­tween Ab­botswell Pri­mary and Ha­zle­head Acad­emy.

It is un­der­stood that one of the women had brought back the con­fec­tionery from Am­s­ter­dam to show col­leagues as a prank.

The staff at the cen­tre of the probe de­nied the con­fec­tionery con­tained any­thing il­le­gal.

In June, the staff were cleared of any wrong­do­ing by the coun­cil.

But last night, Unite re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tommy Campbell said the staff were look­ing for “restora­tive jus­tice”, in­clud­ing apolo­gies from se­nior staff for the “pain and hurt” they had suf­fered.

He added that the union was now look­ing to the Acas service to solve the dis­pute.

He said: “We be­lieve that these employees have suf- fered dis­crim­i­na­tion be­cause they are fe­male staff and that this sit­u­a­tion would have been un­likely to have arisen if they were male employees.

“If the process with Acas is un­suc­cess­ful, then we will be left with lit­tle choice but to look to an em­ploy­ment tri­bunal.”

Ha­zle­head, Queens Cross and Countess­wells coun­cil­lor Martin Greig said: “The claim that il­le­gal and harm­ful sub­stances have been brought into the school needs to be in­ves­ti­gated on an ur­gent ba­sis.

“The school is a place where health and well be­ing is a pri­or­ity. Par­ents de­serve to be told if there has been ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­tiv­ity.

“Ac­tion has to be taken to iden­tify any wrong­do­ing, so that young peo­ple can be pro­tected from the hazards.

“This is all about look­ing af­ter the in­ter­ests of pupils. The pos­si­ble ex­po­sure to dan­ger­ous or com­pro­mis­ing sit­u­a­tions is very wor­ry­ing.”

An Aberdeen City Coun­cil spokesman re­sponded: “We have met with Unite to seek a res­o­lu­tion to this mat­ter which we hope we can achieve with­out hav­ing to go to ar­bi­tra­tion.

“We are cur­rently await­ing Unite’s re­sponse.” In every job we do, big or small, we work hard to make your vi­sion a re­al­ity and de­liver re­sults to be proud of.

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