Socialist Worker

Glasgow strikers reject bosses’ insulting offer and vow to fight on

Under growing pressure from the all-out homelessness caseworkers’ strike, bosses tried to sell a shoddy deal. Strikers spoke to Raymie Kiernan about the next steps in their struggle

Issue No. 2456

A mass picket outside Glasgow City Council headquarters

A mass picket outside Glasgow City Council headquarters (Pic: Josh Brown)


A mass meeting of striking homelessness caseworkers in Glasgow unanimously rejected an offer from council bosses on Tuesday of this week. 

Bosses had hoped it would end the workers’ ten week-long all-out strike. 

Striker Mary told Socialist Worker, “There wasn’t a hope in hell we would accept the council’s divisive offer. 

“They want a cut in staff. We’re more determined than ever before to keep fighting,” 

The Unison union members are fighting to be paid equally to other workers, who have the same responsibilities but are paid up to £5,000 a year more.

The Labour-run council bosses were under pressure after revelations about the sorry state of the homeless service. 

Unison also threatened to cut off funding to the city’s Labour Party if it didn’t resolve the dispute.  

But the bosses’ offer was conditional on losing staff and cutting budgets. 

It proposed to restructure the homeless service and create new posts that would put caseworkers onto the higher pay grade. 

Admission

This was the first admission that workers should be on that grade. But it would only keep two thirds of the workers. 

Mary said the offer could have been “written on the back of a fag packet”. 

It shows that the bosses’ overriding aim is not to run a public service people need but make workers do more for less.

Mary said, “We haven’t enough resources or staff. The service is at breaking point. But council leaders have no idea and a total disregard for homeless people.

“It would just mean more work and more pressure. They need to start listening to us about what the service needs.” 

Striker and Unison rep Stuart told Socialist Worker, “We were already on our knees before this strike. There’s no way we can deliver the service with a third less staff.”

City council leaders are only too willing to pass on the cuts from Scotland’s Scottish National Party (SNP) government which is, despite its rhetoric, implementing austerity. 

Workers deserve better than politicians telling them about the “difficult choices” they face “balancing the books” while the rich are left untouched by the cuts. 

The strikers continue to grow in strength and are as united as ever. They have been invited to speak at council workplace car park meetings this week. 

A day of action recently showed how much support they have among other council staff who face the same pressures from cuts.

Mary said, “This is going to happen to everybody at the council. That’s what other council workers need to realise—it’s time for us all to fight back together.”

If another dispute developed at Glasgow City Council and opened a second front, it could just tip the balance and win the strike. 

The caseworkers need solidarity more than ever. 

Send solidarity messages to enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk
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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