Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 December 2006

Strike threat forces victory

GLASGOW'S NEW Labour council has been forced to retreat in the face of a massive strike over their plans to cut the pay of 4,500 council workers.

Ronnie Stevenson, UNISON convenor, Glasgow council Social Work Services Shop Stewards (personal capacity)

Following a very successful ballot for strike action and facing a three-day strike involving 11,000 UNISON members that would have brought council services to a halt, Glasgow City UNISON and Glasgow city council have now agreed protection arrangements arising from their Workforce Pay and Benefits Review.

This is a victory for determined trade union action and is the first example in Britain of success through the threat of strike action over the 'single status' job evaluation and regarding scheme.

A protection arrangement has been agreed for those who lose out in their job evaluation scheme. This now ensures protection of earnings, beyond the original date of March 2009, until individual retraining and service redesign processes are complete. The agreement includes regular monitoring by the union of various protection processes.


THE EMPLOYERS and the media started attacking the council's workforce after a campaign by UNISON stewards led to a 66% vote for strike action by Glasgow UNISON members on a near 50% turnout.

It was a tremendous show of solidarity. About 84% of members stood to gain or stand still and 16% of members stood to lose. Members were appalled by the prospect of their workmates facing such big cuts in living standards, ranging from 5% to 35%.

The members had voted for all-out strike action without 'life and limb' cover to pressurise the council to agree protection arrangements rather than unilaterally force their package on staff.

New Labour-led Glasgow city council drew back from the brink when faced with the solidity of the action and their inability to recruit a scab workforce, despite strenuous efforts.

For seven years Glasgow city council has dithered over how to apply the 1999 Single Status agreement. For a year they have held negotiations with the unions over a workforce pay and benefits review.

There are many issues which still cause concern but the overriding issue for most members was the proposal that staff who lose out in the application of the pay review would only be afforded their protection package for three years until March 2009.

The protection package afforded a package of core pay (their new pay), which attracted cost of living increases, and a transitional payment to make up the balance to the old pay which would not. Individual retraining and service redesign was also on offer with the promise that no-one would actually lose in March 2009 if these additional elements were accepted.

For members the prospect that in three years even 16% of their workmates would suffer severe pay cuts - and possibly having to sell family homes to cope - was unacceptable. Members did not trust the council's promises on training and redesign and demanded full protection of earnings.

Unfortunately lawyers entered the arena. The council said they couldn't go any further for fear of being taken to court for applying a pay review which is not equality-proofed. The so-called Equal Opportunities Commission demands that there be limited protection for loss or else unequal pay will be maintained.

That sounds like equal opportunity for poverty. UNISON's lawyers take the same position. In practice it means that the low-waged must take cuts to pay to aid the lower paid - hardly the position union negotiators could take up.

Workers' determination

FACED WITH the employer's intransigence, members took up the stewards' leadership and recommendation for strike action with enthusiasm. Never has commitment to strike action in areas such as homes for the Elderly or Children's Homes been so strongly demonstrated.

People might be surprised to learn that in these worksites 70% and 85% of members stood to gain. The feeling of solidarity was palpable. Workplace meetings and stewards meetings showed a mood to remain solid when the issues were explained to them. The leaders of the Social Work Services Shop Stewards, whose members were amongst the worst-hit, strengthened members' resolve by patient explanation.

The issue of exemptions for life and limb cover became a particular focus. Despite scandalous attacks on the members, accusing them of playing 'Russian Roulette' with peoples lives, the members' resolve to stand firm strengthened. Just before the strike the employers saw it was going to be solid and that their efforts to recruit a scab workforce were coming to nought.

After several days of intensive negotiations agreement was reached on the length of protection. This is only the beginning of negotiations but at least with the removal of the threat of massive cuts in living standards for a substantial number of members, the negotiations will take place without the fear instilled in members by the employer's initial proposals over protection - or more accurately lack of it.

Members have also learned that employer's intransigence is best met by their resolute solidarity strike action. Should negotiations break down on other aspects of the review, then that strategy can be revisited.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 7 December 2006:

NHS campaigns unite

Blair's health service lies

NHS mass protests continue

Building the national day of action

ITC programme fails

Diary of events

War and terrorism

Bush and Blair still in denial

"The greatest strategic disaster in American history"

Workplace news

Strike threat forces victory

300,000 workers in PCS strike Ballot

"Merry Christmas Mr SCCrooge"

Blood service staff prepared to fight job losses

UCU: Left victory in sight

JJB workers fight sackings

Socialist Students

"Stop the rent rises!"

Campaign to Defeat Fees is building across London

CDF online petition launched!

Fight Blair's divisive academy programme

Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006

Britain's Muslims under siege - which way forward?

"Inspired and informed"

Do you have to be red to be green?

Socialism 2006 - another major step forward

Socialist Party news and analysis

200 march against Lincoln's far right

Trident - a waste of our money

Privatised rail bosses hike up fares

MPs wannabe rich

International socialist news and analysis

Chávez re-election - a set-back for the right

Balance sheet of WASG national conference

Political tensions rage in Bolivia


Home   |   The Socialist 7 December 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleDramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts


triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

triangleLabour council Blairites deselected

triangleNew ebook: Liverpool A City That Dared To Fight

triangleBristol libraries safe - for now - as council caves to pressure


triangleWhere is Scotland going?

triangleGlasgow jannies win famous victory against council cutters

triangleGlasgow janitors win famous victory


triangleLeeds college workers protest poor pay rises

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice