A major dispute in Glasgow council escalated this week as around 10,000 workers in the Unison union began a ballot for action.
They are balloting in defence of several hundred members who had their pay protection withdrawn on 1 April as a result of a single status pay review.
They face pay cuts in their next wage and some people will be several thousand pounds worse off each year.
The ballot asks workers to vote yes to three consecutive days of strike action planned to take place at the end of April.
The council has broken an agreement made with Unison in 2006. This promised to extend pay protection to anyone who faced pay cuts as a result of the pay review beyond this April.
Meanwhile all-out strike action by 21 community service supervisors has continued into its 14th week.
Several of these workers are in detriment – they have lost out through single status regarding – but all workers believe they have been placed in the wrong grade.
An ambitious marketisation programme is also causing chaos for workers and the services they provide across Glasgow.
In addition to transferring housing stock, the council has created the Cultural and Leisure Trust as an arms length company to run museums, libraries and sports facilities. Several other services have also been outsourced.
Earlier this year Stephen Purcell, leader of Glasgow council, stated that there would be “no no-go areas” when it came to outsourcing council services.
Last week over 30 library assistants employed by the Cultural and Leisure Trust were sent home after refusing to carry out duties relating to recording colleagues’ sickness absence and financial procedures.
These workers have voted to begin an all-out strike from Thursday of this week if the council does not reach an agreement over duties.
Cultural and Leisure Trust workers still retain many of the conditions they had as directly employed council workers.
However last week the trust informed them that it would impose a pay freeze in the next year.
Stephen Purcell immediately championed this and said he hoped the Scottish local government employers’ group, Cosla, would adopt this position.
It seems that the council is determined to continue pushing privatisation.
Some 9,000 care workers were transferred to Cordia last week, a council-owned company. Cordia has said it hopes to bid to provide home care services to neighbouring councils.
Across Scotland councils are beginning to set cuts budgets. Some 200 workers in East Renfrewshire and over 100 workers in Stirling face redundancy.
The chaos of the past week (see following housing story) gives yet more urgency to winning Unison’s branch-wide strike ballot. This should become a fight for the future of public services in Glasgow.