Socialist Worker

Anti-union law used by Glasgow's Labour council

by a Glasgow Unison, union member
Issue No. 2059

A threat by Labour-controlled Glasgow city council to use anti-union laws halted industrial action by 600 social care workers.

But at a mass meeting on Tuesday the workers voted overwhelmingly that they would begin an all-out strike from Monday 23 July.

The workers, members of the Unison union, were due to start a work to rule on Monday of this week after a 97 percent vote for action.

The workers had been downgraded in the council’s single status review.

In addition, 88 percent voted to walk out immediately if any social care worker was suspended.

Ronnie Stevenson, Glasgow Unison’s convenor of social work stewards, said, “Instead of rushing to the negotiating table, the council has rushed to the courts to use the anti-trade union laws.

“At the eleventh hour, they threatened to force staff to choose between striking or taking no action by legally challenging any action short of a strike.

“We put this new threat to our members and therefore postponed any action until after that meeting.”

Last week, before the council’s legal threats became known, local workplace meetings were held throughout the city to discuss the implications of the dispute for other social work staff and how they could take solidarity action.

Residential workers whose overtime payments were adversely affected in the review started a voluntary overtime ban on Friday of last week after an 84 percent vote for action in their ballot.

A Unison shop steward said, “Both the social care and residential workers’ ballots indicated strong feelings and a determination to fight.

“However the council has threatened to sack individual workers taking action and this has affected the mood.

“Some members are very angry, while others feel intimidated.”

Around 1,000 workers in other sections of social work are also now to be balloted.

They are ready to take action alongside their colleagues.


East Lothian council plans to push through new pay structures under single status which could cost some workers £3,000 a year.

Talks between the local authority and trade unions have ended, after 47 attempts to reach an agreement since January 2005.

The council says it has now begun statutory consultation with staff. But if they fail to reach an agreement, it will impose the package.


Unison in Wales in launching mass legal action to secure equal pay for women in local government.

Unison, which represents more than 95,000 members in Wales, 65 percent of them female, said its campaign was on behalf of thousands of underpaid women.

It said local councils had not stuck to the April 2007 deadline


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News
Tue 10 Jul 2007, 18:14 BST
Issue No. 2059
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