Socialist Worker

Glasgow council IT strikers show how to defend conditions

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2538

Pickets in November

Pickets in November (Pic: Unison Glasgow City Branch)


Glasgow council IT workers voted last week to accept a deal that protects their jobs, terms and conditions and current employment status in the event of privatisation.

Labour Party councillors propose privatising the city’s IT service to CGI, the corporation favoured to take over.

Privatisation is often a prelude to cost-cutting attacks on workers. But the IT workers have won protection through strikes.

The new deal guarantees that in any new set-up workers who are currently council employees will remain council employees “seconded” to the new employer.

Workers who are currently “council-linked” employees—in the council joint venture with outsourcing giant Serco that currently runs the IT service—will remain so in any new deal with CGI.

The previous guarantees of no compulsory redundancies and no relocation from Glasgow remain for all workers. The deal will also see the council govern over matters related to the workers’ jobs.

The workers’ Unison union will still collectively bargain directly with the council.

The council also accepted the principle that any new workers recruited to the posts should be council-linked employees.

The deal comes after Unison members struck one day in November followed by selective three-week strikes before and after the Christmas holidays.

Crucially, the workers escalated their action only last week, after which council chiefs agreed a new deal.

The strikers rightly opposed privatisation, so this is not an outright victory. But workers have shown how strikes can hold back attacks from privatisation of services.

More council workers will have to fight to ensure this is not just a unique deal for Glasgow but is a starting point to build from as CGI looks to extend its reach across the public sector.


Social workers to walk out in Kirklees

Some 250 children’s social workers at Kirklees council in West Yorkshire were set to strike on Friday.

The Unison union members are in dispute over issues including workloads, pay and bullying.

The Labour-led council threatened workers with Tory anti-union laws but has since backed down.

Kirklees Unison branch secretary Paul Holmes said workers “are at the end of their tether”.

Fax messages of solidarity to 01484 450174.


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