Socialist Worker

Glasgow Unison lose ballot for action against wage cuts

Issue No. 2149

The fight to defend workers facing wage cuts within Glasgow City Unison received a setback last week when a branch-wide ballot for action was lost.

Around 9,000 Unison union members were balloted for three days of strikes after the council broke a pay protection agreement.

The council agreed in 2006 to work towards taking everyone out of “detriment” but where this could not be achieved, it would extend protection beyond a three year deadline, which expired this April. Several hundred workers face immediate wage cuts.

A Unison steward said, “We were between a rock and a hard place. We knew it would be hard to win this ballot. The majority of members who were in detriment in 2006 have now been regraded.

“Most members today do not have contact with someone who has lost out. However, if we did not ballot, those members who have lost out would have felt betrayed by the union. It was the right thing to do.”

A weakness in the campaign was a failure to connect to wider issues such as the schools closures protest in the city. Stewards representing members in primary schools and nurseries took the view that they would not support the parents’ campaign as there were no compulsory redundancies.

Some union activists also felt this was the wrong issue to fight over—with pressure building up over the sickness and absence policy and a major assault on public services in the city.

Despite this setback the indefinite strike by community service supervisors continues.

Workers in Land and Environmental Services are to ballot on an imposed four days on four days off work pattern.

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Article information

Tue 28 Apr 2009, 19:01 BST
Issue No. 2149
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