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Macclesfield College under fire for forcing staff to come in for VIRTUAL open day

11 June 2020 | last updated: 26 June 2020

College sits in region with country's highest Covid-19 transmission rate where schools have shelved reopening plans due to health concerns, yet it orders staff to come in and perform tasks they could do at home.

Macclesfield College has been branded 'irresponsible' for 'unnecessary' attempts to force staff onsite for a virtual open day. UCU said the college had failed to follow government guidance over risk assessments, ignored government guidance on limited reopening of colleges and failed to meet its legal duty to consult with the union on health and safety matters.

The union said it was unaware of any other college in the country taking such risks, especially in the North West, which has the highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 in the country. The increase in the infection rate prompted schools across the region to axe plans for reopening. UCU said colleges needed to follow the science, and schools' lead, and not reopen until it is safe to do so.

The union said the health of staff, students and their families had to be the number one concern for any college. UCU said it was stunned that Macclesfield College had asked staff to come in to answer questions online for a virtual open day when the tasks could be safely done at home.

The college only presented UCU with an executive summary of its risk assessment the afternoon before the open day, which the union said was completely inadequate.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'The health of staff, students and their families has to be the number one priority for every college. 'We don't know of any other college that is behaving in such an irresponsible way and we are stunned Macclesfield College is trying to force staff to come in for a virtual event to undertake tasks they could safely do at home.

'While schools across the region axe plans to reopen, Macclesfield College is pushing ahead with an unnecessary demand for staff to come in that puts their health at risk.

'The statutory duties and government guidance regarding risk assessments and consultation over health and safety are clear, so we don't understand why the college thinks it can proceed in such a reckless fashion. We want to work with all colleges to ensure safety is top of the agenda. We would urge Macclesfield College to follow the science, halt these plans and urgently undertake the proper risk assessments.'