Socialist Worker

Angry Glasgow homelessness strikers hand back their long service awards

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2452

Striker Ellen has worked for Glasgow council for 39 years

Striker Ellen has worked for Glasgow council for 39 years (Pic: Duncan Brown)

The all-out strike by Glasgow City Council workers entered its sixth week on Tuesday of this week. 

The homelessness caseworkers are demanding to be paid the same as social work colleagues who have similar responsibilities but are paid up to £5,000 a year more.

The 70 Unison union members on strike say they are being boosted by solidarity pouring in from across Britain and Northern Ireland.

Strikers addressed trade unionists on May Day demonstrations in Glasgow, Dundee and Derry. Last week support came from the Fire Brigades Union Scottish region, Derry Unison and Derry trades council.

Regular solidarity collections are building the strike fund—one from Take That fans at gigs in Glasgow brought in £200 last week.

And on Thursday of last week strikers protested outside the Labour-run city council headquarters as around 20 of them handed back long service awards. 

Striker Ellen has worked for the council for 39 years. She told Socialist Worker, “We handed back the awards because management have let us and the public down by not entering into any meaningful negotiations.

“The award states it is for public service and loyalty to the citizens of Glasgow. Well they should show some loyalty to us and the homeless people we work with.” 

Ellen said the councillors who have signed the awards are “the very people who refuse to speak to us”.

Bosses say the workers only sort accommodation and their “contingency plan” is running the homelessness service during the walkout.

Strikers said one team leader has now resigned and “families with children are being turned away for emergency accommodation”. 

Many wonder how long bosses can claim they are providing the statutory service.

Send messages of solidarity and invite a striker to speak at a trade union or campaign meeting [email protected]
Donate to the strike fund: Unity Bank, Sort code 08-60-01, Account number 20275792, Account name “Industrial Action—Income”
Cheques to Glasgow City Unison, 84 Bell St, Glasgow, G1 1LQ

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