Socialist Worker

School janitors in Glasgow make a clean sweep with a strike

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2517

Janitors on the picket line on Monday

Janitors protest outside Glasgow City Council Chambers on Monday (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Glasgow school janitors began a five-day strike on Monday in a long-running dispute over pay with bosses at Cordia, a city council-owned firm.

The janitors launched the action as schools returned from the summer holiday. They want the extra payments that other council workers receive for doing dirty or physically demanding jobs.

Striking janitor Steven told Socialist Worker, “Nobody is speaking to us about this.

“All we’re getting is talk and rumours about a ‘janitorial review’. But we won’t respond to talk and rumour.”

In reality their response has been to strike again to force bosses to concede their demand.

The janitors are currently losing out by up £1,000 a year.

Over the summer they continued a boycott of duties that began in January.

Steven said it was having an impact. “There are weeds growing up to your knees in some places and dangerous items lying around. If they paid us properly we’d clean it.”

Since March the Unison union members have struck over 20 days. Steven said, “We’re getting a lot of support from teachers and parents. But some janitors who are not in Unison are opening schools up, and some headteachers are mopping up.”

He reiterated how important it was for other school unions to urge their members not to do the janitors’ duties. The janitors need support against a firm that is trying to break their resolve.

Glasgow City Unison branch secretary Brian Smith said, “Cordia has spent thousands of pounds every month since January trying to undermine our official boycott of the duties through the use of non-trade union replacement workers.

“They would be better getting round the table and sorting out our legitimate claim.”

Send solidarity messages to enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk and make donations to the strike fund to Unity Bank, Sort code 08-60-01, Account number 20275792, Account name “Industrial Action—Income”

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