Socialist Worker

Glasgow janitors show grit as bosses plan to seize houses

Issue No. 2537

School janitors on strike in Glasgow this week

School janitors on strike in Glasgow this week

Lively action by janitors in Glasgow last week frustrated bosses’ efforts to undermine their strike. But bosses could now be gearing up to kick some workers out of their homes.

Janitors “paid a visit” to private contractors hired by Cordia to salt school grounds in the icy weather. It caused hours of disruption as the contractors hid round a corner.

And drivers making school kitchen deliveries refused to cross picket lines, leaving scab managers to do the work.

The Unison union members are in a year-long dispute with Cordia, a Glasgow Labour council-run firm.

Workers are demanding the payments that are available to council employees for dirty or physically demanding work. These are worth up to £1,000 a year.

The janitors are staging their latest two-week strike. They unanimously rejected a new offer last week that meant more money “but the negatives were too much to take,” striker Steven told Socialist Worker.

The company’s refusal to backdate the offer is a “make or break” for many strikers. It also includes “flexible working” and extra “handyman” duties.

And there is a vicious attack on the resident janitors whose house came with the job—around a third of the workforce. Bosses want to create new “cluster” areas, cutting the number of janitors by up to a quarter.

“Now they’ve been told if they apply for new jobs in the clusters they must move out of their houses,” said Steven. “Some guys have stayed in these houses for 20 years.

“People should be able to apply for a job without the fear of losing their home.”

Workers suspect the real plan is to sell off the houses. “This is not on. We want this taken off the table completely,” says Steven.

More talks and a mass meeting were set for this week.

Resisting IT privatisation

Glasgow council IT workers continued their three-week walkout against privatisation this week.

A strike of all IT workers last year was followed up by a selective strike of highly skilled workers for three weeks in December and again after the holiday break.

Labour insists the council’s IT services must be privatised to save money. But workers fear attacks on their conditions and a worsening of the service.

School workers battle Labour’s pay cut in Derby

Strikers in Derby on Monday

Strikers in Derby on Monday (Pic:Derby City Unison)

Derby teaching assistants (TAs) began a week of half-day walkouts on Monday in their fight against Labour-run Derby City Council’s attack on their pay.

TAs were forced onto new term time only contracts last summer that slashed their pay by a quarter. The Labour council claimed this was about ensuring equal pay.

After initially allowing the attack to go through without any industrial action, the TAs’ Unison union began striking after the council imposed the new contracts.

PFI cleaners want action in Kirklees

Cleaners and caretakers in 18 private finance initiative-built schools in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, have voted to strike against their employers’ refusal to implement the April 2016 pay offer.

The Unison union members also demand bosses recognise their union, allow a health and safety committee and pay the Yorkshire Living Wage.

During the ballot employers conceded on all the demands except the payment of the living wage. Despite this workers voted overwhelmingly to strike to secure all of their demands.

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Tue 17 Jan 2017, 15:44 GMT
Issue No. 2537
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