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Glasgow equal pay votes + Unite battle in local government

Issue 2794
Confident-looking Glasgow women equal pay pickets with orange and black GMB flags and purple Unison ones

Glasgow workers struck for equal pay in 2018 (pic: Andrew McGowan)

The results of a ballot by Glasgow council workers involved in a long-running equal pay battle were set to be announced as Socialist Worker went to press.

Members of the Unison, GMB and Unite unions could walk out for the second time over the council’s sexist pay grades.

Thousands of workers struck for two days in Britain’s largest equal pay strike for decades in 2018.

The strike forced Glasgow City Council to agree £500 million in compensation payments to the predominantly low‑paid women workers.

But now the council is dragging its feet in implementing the new pay scheme.

A Yes vote for action must be followed by hard-hitting action

Strikes by Unite coming in some local councils

Sections of the Unite union’s local government members will stage targeted industrial action at councils in England and Wales this month.

They have rejected a 1.75 percent pay offer in a ballot of more than 300 local authorities.

More than 80 percent of Unite’s 70,000 members, who voted in nearly 400 separate ballots, were in favour of industrial action

The union said that the employers’ offer was and remains “completely unacceptable”, given that the RPI rate of inflation has raced ahead to 7.8 per cent.

A list of councils, where the legal threshold for industrial action has been met and where action will be taken, will be unveiled soon.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite’s message to the Local Government Employers is your offer is completely unacceptable, think again and put a proper pay rise to our members.

“Our members have the full support of their union as they get ready to take industrial action in the spring.”

Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said, “We had an excellent turnout with some 82 percent of those voting supporting action, reflecting our members’ disgust at the offer.

Unite is demanding a 10 percent pay rise for council workers—who have experienced a real terms pay cut of 22 percent over the last 11 years.

A Unison union ballot did not meet the threshold under the anti-union laws.

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