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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 October 2007

Glasgow: On strike for a fair deal

Workers in Glasgow's Learning Disability and Physical Disability day care services have been on indefinite strike action from 16 October. 84% of members voted to take strike action in the recent ballot. The strike involves over 250 Unison members across 12 centres.

Brian Smith, Unison social work services secretary

The dispute centres on the implementation of the Single Status Agreement. The workers have been allocated to the wrong role profiles/grades under the council's Workforce Pay and Benefits Review.

The council have failed to recognise the valuable job these workers undertake with some of the most vulnerable members in our society. They had the opportunity to correct their mistake at the review hearings but they failed to take it.

The council have offered to resolve the dispute through a service reform that would alter the remits of most workers and halve the number of centres.

The council claim this will allow them to increase community based provision by altering the structure of the workforce whist at the same time offering all workers in pay detriment either new posts at a new higher grade, new jobs out with daycare services or voluntary redundancy.

The council's offer is short on detail and the workers want a fair role profile that reflects what they currently do. So it was decided at the last members' meeting to continue with the strike action as planned.

Positive links were made with carers' organisations and service users in the run-up to the strike. This will be important, as the council attempt to drive a wedge between the workers and those who rely on the services.

Unison members are not opposed to changes that aim to improve support for service users. But delivering a fair grading for the workforce should be the foundation for this.

Over the last year the Unison branch has won several important concessions from the council by threatening or taking strike action. Whilst each dispute is different it is clear that another success can be achieved if members stand together.

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