The Socialist

The Socialist 10 October 2018

Fight the right

The Socialist issue 1013

Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election


We need democratic, rank-and-file leadership to win national UCU disputes

First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action

Another first: pub strike victory in south London!

Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut

Strike raises pay at Liverpool airport

South Western rail guards hit 18 strike days


Fight the right

12 years to halt irreversible climate disaster. Capitalism's time is up

8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike

Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn

Workers in UK do 1.2trn of unpaid housework and care

Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise

Them & Us


Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat


Polarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections

US: #CancelKavanaugh

Mexico: socialists violently attacked by gangs - urgent solidarity needed

Ireland: 10,000 march for homes in Dublin


Liverpool 47 plaque: "Better to break the law, than break the poor"

Palestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."

Leicestershire: stop the cuts to our hospital services

Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - the fight goes on

Finance - a crucial component of socialist campaigns


The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms

The Socialist Inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike for equal pay

Glasgow council workers protesting for pay equality, photo by Glasgow City Unison

Glasgow council workers protesting for pay equality, photo by Glasgow City Unison   (Click to enlarge)

A historic mass strike for equal pay by 8,000 council workers in Glasgow, 90% of whom are women, will take place on 23 and 24 October. The action is organised by local government unions Unison and GMB.

The strike will include home care workers, cleaners, caterers, learning support workers, child development officers, school administration staff and janitors.

It is expected to shut down primary schools, nurseries and cultural buildings across the city, as well as suspending normal service to 6,000 care clients.

For 12 years, council workers have been underpaid by a scheme that was supposed to end inequality - the 'Workforce Benefits and Pay Review' (WBPR).

The Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, has ruled twice that WBPR is unequal.

Successive Blairite Labour and now Scottish National Party (SNP) council administrations have failed to give these low-paid workers what they are owed. Strike ballots smashed the Tories' anti-union thresholds with 90% votes for action.

Socialist Party Scotland members play a leading role in the socialist-led Glasgow City Unison branch. We offer full support to the strikers.

Denise, Norah and Isabelle are Unison members and home care workers. They spoke to Matt Dobson from Socialist Party Scotland.

Denise: "For ten months, and after 21 meetings with the trade unions and [joint union and legal campaign] Action 4 Equality, the council now say they haven't even looked at our proposals for comparators for job roles.

"It's insulting. The council have agreed nothing, offered nothing, they just want meetings about meetings. There is righteous anger among members. Enough is enough!

"We gave them a chance after they publicly committed to real negotiations and participation from claimants in the summer after the massive vote for action in our consultative ballot. They blew it. They now have a massive strike in response.

"They are out to sell us short and save money, instead of for real justice. They have tried to hang on to WBPR when especially the shift allowances are discriminatory."

Norah spoke about the replacement of the previous unequal pay scheme in 2006: "We have learned very bitter lessons from that experience. We were offered small amounts near Christmas, way below what we were owed.

Cynically exploited

"Some women took it just to give something to their families. Their desperation was cynically exploited.

"Never again with this. We are all absolutely determined to get the full amount we are owed. If they think they can use Christmas again, they are mistaken.

"The council need to understand we are serious about this action and we have mass support. A woman came to me the other day in TK Maxx after seeing the uniform. 'Good on you, and all the best,' she said. Our clients, who we care for, want to come to the pickets and demonstrations."

Denise, Norah and Isabelle also spoke of the pride in their union and the intense atmosphere of fightback building up to the strike.

Hundreds of new members have joined. Ballot and strike strategy meetings, with hundreds of members attending, have been electric and have built the mood.

Equal pay has become a lightning rod for all the anger on workplace issues Unison is taking up, like workload. "Last year the red alert during the snow storms saw our frontline staff out risking their safety getting to people's homes."

Isabelle: "The physical strain of home care work is massive. Under this pay scheme, the overtime isn't worthwhile. I've ended up worse off with more work!"

Another key issue strikers are fighting on is how pensions will be factored in. Other councils have made pay-outs without pensions included.

Norah: "We are fighting for this because it has impacted that much on folks' lives. We have [equal pay] claimants who are now 70, who because of this have been struggling for years, who haven't been able to enjoy a pension.

"Women have died in this city waiting on equal pay. It's beyond a disgrace! And still they delay with the money."

Home care workers are incensed that senior council officers and the SNP administration have publicly said a home care strike for equal pay is unjustified as it puts vulnerable people in danger.

These councillors and managers have no clue about the demands of the job, and how difficult it is to survive on low pay. This strike has been provoked by their inaction.

Glasgow workers reading about the strike of Birmingham council home care workers in the Socialist sent full solidarity to those workers.

The cost of implementing equal pay compensation, and a new fair and equal pay evaluation scheme going forward, could be over 500 million.

Glasgow City Unison has consistently demanded that this must not be paid for by cuts to any services or selling assets that benefit the public.

The council must use its borrowing powers and campaign for financial assistance from the Scottish and Westminster governments.

Norah, Denise and Isabelle had a final message: "We say we will not be made to feel guilty by this council.

"They have robbed us and seem to be still trying to cut down on what we are owed. It's our money that we worked and sacrificed for.

"We say to everyone around the country and in the city: picket with us, join the demonstrations, donate to the strike fund. We are fighting also for young people, for future council workers.

"What do we want? Equal pay! When do we want it? Now!"

Trade union branches should send solidarity:
  • Messages of support to enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk
  • Social media posts and photos should use #EqualPayGlasgowNow
  • Strike fund donations to 60-83-01, 20275789, c/o Drew Rigden, treasurer, Glasgow City Unison
Read more at socialistpartyscotland.org.uk:

In this issue


What we think

Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election


Workplace news and analysis

We need democratic, rank-and-file leadership to win national UCU disputes

First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action

Another first: pub strike victory in south London!

Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut

Strike raises pay at Liverpool airport

South Western rail guards hit 18 strike days


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight the right

12 years to halt irreversible climate disaster. Capitalism's time is up

8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike

Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn

Workers in UK do 1.2trn of unpaid housework and care

Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise

Them & Us


Anti-racism

Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat


International socialist news and analysis

Polarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections

US: #CancelKavanaugh

Mexico: socialists violently attacked by gangs - urgent solidarity needed

Ireland: 10,000 march for homes in Dublin


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Liverpool 47 plaque: "Better to break the law, than break the poor"

Palestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."

Leicestershire: stop the cuts to our hospital services

Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - the fight goes on

Finance - a crucial component of socialist campaigns


Opinion

The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms

The Socialist Inbox


 

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