Imagine there was a workplace – in this country – where basic human rights were ignored.
Where you were not allowed to go to the toilet, even if you pleaded with your supervisors to let you go. You had set times to go to the loo and the toilets were locked outside of those hours.
Imagine you were not allowed to work part-time. Even if you found full-time hours so stressful it made you ill. You had to work… and it had to be full-time. No exceptions.
Imagine you were not allowed to request holidays. You were only allowed holidays at set times of the year, chosen by your supervisors and not you. If you went on holiday outside of your supervisor’s chosen times, you were fined for doing so.
Imagine you were forced to stay at work after hours if you didn’t finish your work for the day, or speak out of turn to a supervisor, or were wearing the wrong clothes. You didn’t get paid for these extra hours – You simply just had to stay at work until your supervisors said that you could leave.
Imagine having your break times taken away as well for any of the above reasons.
You wouldn’t stand for it, would you? You would even campaign for the rights of those employed by this company to make conditions better for the workers.
Imagine if the employees discussed here are children.
This ignorance of basic human rights is happening every weekday in this country, within our schools.
To our children.
We have conventions on rights for adults, EU working time directives, enshrined in law, but no such thing to protect children’s rest time within schools.
At work, in the UK, your employer legally has to let you take the rest breaks that you are entitled to. Not so in school.
You can take paid holiday from your workplace when you want, as long as you give your employer the correct notice. Your employer can still say no, but you do have a degree of autonomy over holidays. Not so in school.
All employees have the legal right to request flexible working (e.g. changing hours to part-time, changing working hours, compressed hours, home working and flexitime). Children do not have a right to flexible schooling. On very, very rare occasions in this country flexischooling is considered for a child at a state school, but it is considered a temporary measure until full-time schooling is resumed. If a child is at school, it must be full-time, long-term.
Children do not have the right to go to the toilet when they need to. In this country. On this day. And it is a disgrace.
We cannot continue to treat our children in this way. Our children have rights and feelings too. They are humans just like the adults who should be here to protect them.