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Parents fight "eviction notice" served on popular Hyndland primary school janitor

Popular school janitor and his wife face being made homeless unless council reconsiders "eviction" notice, claim parents.

Parents have accused council officials of "callous" behaviour over moves to get a long-serving janitor out of his home of more than 20 years.

Joe Cameron - or 'Janny Joe' as he has been fondly known by generations of pupils, teachers and parents at Hyndland Primary School - retired last month after 37 years' service in Glasgow's schools.

For the last 21 years he and his family have occupied a two-bedroomed tied-flat on the lower ground floor of the Fortrose Street building.

But the school's parent council says the local authority has failed to help find Joe and his wife, Susan, suitable alternative accommodation in the area - as has previously been normal practice once a janitor retires.

And they say pressure is needlessly being placed on the couple because the council only intends to board up the flat once the Camerons move out.

The property, they say, could still be used by Joe and his wife permanently or until suitable accommodation is found.

Instead, the Camerons are effectively facing being made homeless after they received a Notice to Quit letter telling them they had to get out of the flat by Dec 13.

Joe, 69, and Susan, who both have health issues, want to remain in the Partick area among friends and family in their retirement.

Both are said to be upset by the uncertainty hanging over them.

Friends say the family do not want publicity but are at a loss to know how the situation will resolve itself.

But John Lewis, chair of Hyndland Primary School Parent Council, did not pull any punches in two letters sent out to parents on Wednesday evening.

He said the council's failure to help the family was "both disrespectful and scandalous", and accused the authority of being "morally wrong" in its treatment of the Camerons.

And he questioned whether the council was breaking the law, and beaching the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR), in wanting Joe out of the house.

The parent council is calling on pupils and parents, past and present, to write to Glasgow's head of education services Maureen McKenna asking her to reconsider the council's position.

The parent council says it understands the council is putting an end to janitors living within school premises as present staff retire.

In a letter to Ms McKenna, the parent council says: "We understand the Council policy relating to tied houses and tenancy of such ending with any termination of employment.

"However, the council's intention to evict a man in his late 60s from a house that GCC has no intention of using is nonsensical at best and callous at worst.

"Joe and Susan currently live in a property that is fit for purpose and allowing them to remain involves no extra effort from the Council."

An accompanying letter to parents says: "Despite the obvious, which is that effectively making someone who has given the school 21 years of dedicated public service (and approximately 37 years to Glasgow City Council (GCC)) subject to an eviction notice, when GCC has not worked with the various housing associations to facilitate an appropriate alternative accommodation for Joe and Susan, is both disrespectful and scandalous.

"While GCC may feel that it is carrying out its minimum statutory requirement towards its former employee, it is nevertheless morally wrong at the very least.

"This is especially so given that GCC has no apparent plans for the school to make use of the space once Joe and Susan have left. It also appears to be that tied housing for school jannies is no longer GCC policy."

Joe was employed by council spin-off company Cordia for the last few years of his time working in schools.

In the letter to Ms McKenna, the parent council says: "Subjecting a long-standing and dedicated public servant to Glasgow City Council with what is, in effect, eviction from his home upon his retirement is rather a callous way for the authority to behave.

"GCC, even if it feels it no longer has a contractual and legal obligation to provide Joe with a duty of care given that he has now retired, absolutely has a moral obligation."

It adds: "Aside from the shocking way for a loyal and dedicated public servant to GCC and the local community to be treated, has GCC / Cordia concurred with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and in its duty of care to a former employee of GCC / Cordia while presenting him with his Notice to Quit?

"We believe that the notice of eviction from GCC may infringe on Joe and Susan’s rights under Article 1 [ECHR] of the first Protocol: protection of property.

"Further, we believe that they have the right not to be the victims of arbitrary eviction – which is also a right under Article 8, the right to private and family life under the section on ‘respect for the home’'.

The parent council calls on the local authority to reconsider boarding up the janitor's house.

The letter to Ms McKenna states: "An empty and possibly boarded up part of the school building will be a potential magnet for vandalism, break-ins and other forms of criminal damage.

It adds: "We implore you to reconsider Glasgow City Council’s decision to evict Joe and Susan from the property and would urge you to allow them to remain in the flat for the foreseeable future, at least until suitable alternative social housing is found for them."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: "The couple are not being evicted or made homeless - the tied house was part of the janitor's employment contract and now that he is no longer an employee he has been served with notice to quit the premises.

"However, we have been, via Cordia supporting the family to explore alternative options. Joe has known that this would be the situation since he has been in the house and should have been planning for the future.

"We will continue to help the family identify alternative accommodation - as we do with any janitor who is retiring.

"The accommodation is not separate from the school - part of the fabric of the building and it will not be left vacant - in other situations we have used the space for after school clubs, a nursery base, or additional general purpose rooms for the school."

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