Socialist Worker

Glasgow council workers' united fight against cuts

by a Glasgow Unison steward
Issue No. 2155

Around 1,300 Glasgow council parks, street lighting and street cleaning workers are due to begin an all-out indefinite strike at 5am on Friday of this week.

The Unite, Unison and GMB unions balloted their members in land and environmental services for action.

The move came after the council issued letters threatening to dismiss any worker who refused to accept an imposed four days on, four days off work pattern.

Martin Doran of the GMB, which represents most of the employees, says that bin workers will not cross picket lines.

A total of 766 GMB members were balloted, and of the 483 ballot papers returned, 333 were for strike action.

Unite and Unison ballots also returned solid votes for action. The strike will begin hours before the council-imposed deadline for signing the new contracts.

It is the latest in a series of disputes to hit the council.

Social care and daycare workers were involved in indefinite strikes in 2007 to improve their single status gradings.

The following year, residential workers balloted for action and the dispute was settled in the workers’ favour on the eve of strike action.


Last week community service supervisors returned to work after 21 weeks of successful strike action. Next week the result of the social worker admin workers’ “work context” payment ballot will be announced.

The Labour council is pursuing a distinct neoliberal agenda – possibly one of the most draconian in Britain.

It is favouring the creation of “arms length” companies that compete in the market to replace the services it provided.

In April some 9,000 home care and cleaning workers left the council to join the private company Cordia.

But the Unison branchwide ballot to protect workers in “detriment” was lost.

The scale of the council’s attacks has meant that there has been some resistance where workers have sectional strength.

The council has left no space for “partnership” with the trade unions.

At the heart of the land and environmental services dispute is the council’s attempts to achieve £5 million in so-called “flexibility” savings.

The council intends to scrap weekend overtime payments and move workers between jobs.

But there is massive anger over forced weekend working and the votes for action have put the council under pressure.

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Article information

Tue 9 Jun 2009, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2155
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