By Sarah Bates
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2622

Unions at Glasgow city council set for battles over equal pay

This article is over 5 years, 7 months old
Issue 2622
Unison and GMB union members lobbied Glasgow city council council last week
Unison and GMB union members lobbied Glasgow city council council last week (Pic: Glasgow Unison)

Low-paid women workers in Glasgow have dealt a blow to their bosses by delivering an overwhelming vote for strikes.

The huge mandate for action could see 7,800 members strike across two unions.

They are 12 years into a battle over Glasgow City Council’s (GCC) unfair pay system that saw women’s jobs graded lower than those done by men.

The dispute involves seven different sectors, with two balloting for action.

These are education workers, and workers in Cordia who provide care, cleaning and catering services.

Unison union members in Cordia voted by 99 percent to strike, and workers in Cordia returned a verdict of 90 percent for action. GMB union members in Cordia voted a blistering 98 percent for strikes.

Denise Phillips is a home carer, and has worked for Cordia for 18 years. A Unison steward, she told Socialist Worker the result was “absolutely brilliant. That’s 5,000 workers and we’ll all be out together.”

Denise said the “marvellous” result was a result of the council “dragging its heels, and women have had enough.”

During the ballot union offices were a hive of activity, with regular phonebanking sessions to ensure that workers remembered to vote.

GCC negotiators suspended the fortnightly meetings with the unions in August.

Workers are furious, says Denise, that the council is still refusing to resolve the dispute.

“They’ve waiting long enough,” she said. “Quite a number of them have died waiting for it, and every year they’re getting older.

“It’s all right saying the council will pass it down to their families, but they should be here enjoying it.”

And Carol Ball, Unison Glasgow chair celebreated the “fantastic show of strength by an overwhelmingly female workforce who have been treated disgracefully for years. They are now standing up and fighting back.

The council has been run by the Scottish National Party (SNP) since 2017. But Labour, which now criticises the SNP over the issue, spent a decade previously in control and blocking the women’s claim.

Lively protests have been a feature of the women’s historic battle to secure equal pay.

Strikes should see similar action that shames GCC and doesn’t allow them to wriggle away from its promises of fair pay any longer.

Unite union members at Glasgow Life struck for 24 hours, on Friday of last week.

The culture, sport and learning company is an arms?length body run by Glasgow City Council.

Workers are fighting over payments for setting up and removing events at the city’s Emirates Arena.

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