Socialist Worker

Workers shut down East Dunbartonshire council services over attacks on conditions

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2610

On Strike in East Dunbartonshire

On Strike in East Dunbartonshire (Pic: East Dunbartonshire Unison)


A four-day strike has brought huge sections of East Dunbartonshire council in the west of Scotland to a standstill.

Some 800 council workers struck between Thursday of last week and Monday of this week.

It was a response to bosses’ attempts to force through a series of assaults on the working conditions of Unite, Unison and GMB union members.

The council is jointly run by the Tories and Lib Dems. Management want to steal three days’ annual leave, reduce the time when workers can apply for unsocial hours pay, remove enhanced overtime and reduce ­redundancy payments.

Simon Macfarlane, Unison organiser for East Dunbartonshire said, “Council staff are struggling with the impact of austerity.

“They have suffered ten years of real terms pay cuts and have stretched themselves physically and mentally to try and maintain vital services which have been cut to the bone.

“Enough is enough.”

The action follows a huge mandate to strike. Unison returned a 93 percent vote for action, and Unite members voted for strikes by 95 percent in their ballot.

Workers are set to work to rule from Monday 2 July, meaning no overtime or cover for vacant shifts. All 63 schools and nurseries in East Dunbartonshire were closed as a result of the action.

Although teachers weren’t balloted to strike, schools were unable to operate ­without teaching assistants who were part of the walk out.

Bin collections, libraries, museums, art galleries and cemeteries were amongst other council services to be closed.

Hundreds of workers joined one of the biggest rallies ever seen in East Dunbartonshire on the first day of action.

Vaughan Moody, joint council leader and leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats group, said, “I am very disappointed and angry that this strike has gone ahead”.

But Unite industrial officer Kenny Jordan said, “If there are efficiencies to be made, then they should be sought elsewhere and not from the hardest-working and ­lowest-paid workers.

“They are already stretched to the brink while trying to do their very best for the people of East Dunbartonshire.”

It is a disgrace for councils to say they are attacking workers in order to save public services.

Striking workers represent the real face of ­defending council services—not the Tory-Lib Dem administration making the cuts.


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