Socialist Worker

Anger in Glasgow council over single status

by Jim Main
Issue No. 2020

There is anger in Glasgow City Council workplaces after managers told workers the outcome of the job evaluation, pay and benefits review. In social work services alone, 1,000 workers will lose large amounts, in some cases as much as £6,000 per year.

The results of higher graded workers’ evaluations have still to be announced and there are suspicions they will see significant rises.

The review is the council’s attempt to implement the single status agreement.

Many council workers are angry that a review which was presented as addressing pay inequalities of low paid female workers has resulted in relatively better paid workers facing large cuts.

As one worker put it at a briefing meeting, “The low paid gain very little, those in the middle lose a lot, while those at the top gain a lot.”

Branches across Scotland recently discussed single status and many were concerned that branches are being isolated.

The Scottish Executive has not provided enough money to fund single status so councils are attempting to implement it from existing budgets.

In East Renfrewshire the Unison union has been negotiating single status for two years and some workers still face downgrading.

The Unison branch has had difficulties persuading the national union to authorise an industrial action ballot.

Angela McHugh, East Renfrewshire Unison vice chair said, in a personal capacity, “We have been told we cannot have a ballot because the numbers losing is not large enough. I do not think the union’s role is to negotiate pay cuts for our members.”

In Edinburgh workers are awaiting the details of a similar exercise. They have been told that if they do not like the result, “There are plenty of workers from eastern Europe who will take their jobs.”

Unison members in Aberdeen walked out last year when they were told they faced pay cuts. The council was forced to apologise and go into negotiations.

Glasgow City Unison’s branch committee was due to meet to discuss the request for a strike ballot.

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