Socialist Worker

School and council workers are set for equal pay action in Glasgow

by Charlotte Ahmed
Issue No. 2624

Unison and GMB members in Glasgow protested at a council meeting last month to demand equal pay

Unison and GMB members in Glasgow protested at a council meeting last month to demand equal pay (Pic: Unison Glasgow City/Twitter)


Thousands of workers in Glasgow council are preparing for strikes over equal pay.

Women workers have been fighting for justice for a decade. First it was against a Labour-run council and, for the last year, one led by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

After huge votes for strikes by workers in the Unison and GMB unions, action is expected towards the end of this month.

Some 13,000 women are rightly demanding payment for years of discrimination and inequality when they were paid less than men in similar roles.

Unison Glasgow City Council branch said last week, “Our 5,000 members will now move towards strike action, and we will co-ordinate that action with our sisters and brothers in the GMB trade union.

“We have given the council ten months to make progress on addressing the historical discrimination suffered by thousands of workers across the council. However the council has agreed nothing and offered nothing.

“All we have had are meetings about meetings, talks about talks and more court hearings. It’s time for some action.”

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon’s “to do” list is not short of other serious issues.

Dogmatic

There is widespread opposition to the dogmatic imposition of standardised testing of P1 pupils. The further education sector is in financial crisis due to chronic underfunding. Universities are involved in swingeing cuts and attacks on lecturers’ pay and pensions. And school teachers are campaigning for a 10 percent pay increase.

In real terms, teachers’ pay has fallen by 20 percent in ten years. There is a recruitment crisis all over Scotland.

Workload has increased and the rushed implementation of new courses has created chaos and demoralisation. The new curriculum in primary and secondary schools was full of potential but was implemented in a time of austerity.

Valuing teachers is also about valuing education and the pupils in the system. You can’t have a first class system with second class pay and conditions. It will take a fight to win a 10 percent rise.

In East Dunbartonshire, days of strike action by council workers and the threat of more won a victory and increased recruitment to the union.

As teachers build their own campaign with street stalls, campaign mugs, T-shirts, meetings and posters it is increasingly obvious that the SNP government will not fund a decent pay rise for teachers unless they are forced to.

This will require a huge turnout in any ballot for strike action and a convincing majority for action. We have to build for this now.

The EIS is holding a march to support the pay claim on Saturday 27 October in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, at 11am with a rally in George Square. Come along and support your teachers and schools

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