Socialist Worker

Glasgow council workers vote to suspend all-out strike after offer

by a Glasgow Unison steward
Issue No. 2158

Around 450 social work admin workers in Glasgow have voted to suspend an indefinite strike that was due to begin on Wednesday of this week, after voting to accept an offer recommended to them by their Unison union officials.

The workers were set to strike to demand that the council pays frontline admin clerical workers a “work context” payment of around £500 a year.

This payment is for workers who have direct contact with the public, particularly where they may experience stress and verbal or physical abuse as a result.

Workers in social work and other departments of the council have already received the “work context” payment.

On Tuesday morning, the council made an offer to make a payment of £521 to frontline workers and backdate payments to April of this year.

This is a major climbdown by the council that shows how effective the threat of strike action was.

Backdated

Workers voted by 213 to 103 to accept. Some argued that they had the council on the back foot and should use the opportunity to push for more – particularly that they should receive more money backdated.

They felt that calling off the strike simply gave the council more time to arrange cover in the event of any future action.

There is also some confusion about who will be defined as “frontline” workers and so be eligible for the payment.

The council will finalise the details of the offer and workers will meet at the end of July to decide whether to accept it.

If they decide not to accept, their strike ballot will still be valid.

Despite voting to accept the offer, many workers were reticent to call off the action and wanted to go ahead with the strike. There are a lot of questions still to be answered.

Admin assistants were planning a work-to-rule in a separate dispute over not being paid for taking on supervisory duties.

They were told that more admin officers would be brought in to take on these duties.

They voted to suspend their planned work-to-rule action and give the council a month to come up with detailed proposals regarding this.

Clerical and admin workers remain angry about a whole host of other issues, such as the non-filling of vacancies.

In the north of the city at one office last week, just six workers were covering for 20 posts.

There is a huge level of support for the workers to draw upon should their dispute continue. At meetings last week, other staff in affected offices vowed to support the admin staff.

The GMB union is also balloting its members in admin social work.

The result of this ballot is due on 6 July.


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Article information

News
Tue 30 Jun 2009, 18:25 BST
Issue No. 2158
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