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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24045

Posted on 1 December 2016 at 12:01 GMT

Protest against Glasgow Labour's scab workforce plan to defeat Unison strike action

Unison members striking against ICT privatisation photo Socialist Party Scotland

Unison members striking against ICT privatisation photo Socialist Party Scotland   (Click to enlarge)

Below we reprint an article from Socialist Party Scotland, appealing for solidarity for striking Unison members in Glasgow. There is also a letter of protest from National Shop Stewards Network chair Rob Williams at the end.


Glasgow Labour council have descended into the gutter by attempting to recruit a scab workforce in order to defeat a strike of council workers against privatisation. It is part of an onslaught against the trade unions in the city and in particular the socialist-led Glasgow City Unison branch. In November, the Labour-led council executive voted through a decision to push ahead with the privatisation of the council's ICT (Information Computer Technology) service. This is linked to the huge cuts Labour have implemented in the city with tens of millions more planned for early next year.

In response, Glasgow Unison balloted their 230 members in ICT and a resounding 96% voted in favour of industrial action. Following a successful one-day strike in November, the workers agreed to an all-out action by 39 staff which started on Thursday 1st December.

In an unbelievable act of treachery that a right-wing Thatcherite council would have balked at, the Labour council are now attempting to recruit a scab temporary workforce to cover for the striking Unison members during their action.

This declaration of all-out war and goes against every principle of trade unionism and the traditions of the labour movement. Principles that are now completely alien to the Labour leadership of Glasgow City Council. Frank McAveety, the council leader, has regularly attacked Glasgow City Unison in the press recently. The leaders of Glasgow City Unison and their 10,000 strong membership are being specifically singled out for attack by council officials and the Labour leadership. This is not a surprise as Glasgow Unison have been intransigent and uncompromising over a number of years in defence of members terms and conditions, pay and in opposition to Labour's implementation of Tory austerity in the city.

Action now

Trade unionists across the country and internationally will be rightly outraged by the attempts of a Labour council to recruit a scab workforce to try and defeat the strike. If the council put scab labour in the workplaces, the union would be quite correct in bringing out all 230 workers on indefinite strike action in response as a first step.

Glasgow Labour's action would set a precedent for all other public sector employers to act in the same way when faced with a strike of workers fighting privatisation and cuts. Every single Labour councillor, MP and MSP must be approached to condemn these strike-breaking methods. All trade union branches across Scotland and the UK must respond urgently and sent messages of condemnation to the Glasgow Labour councillors.

Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnall and all other "anti-austerity" politician must speak out to condemn these action. There is no hiding place on this issue. It is the consequence of Labour, and for that matter SNP politicians, refusing to take a fighting stand against cuts and instead capitulating again and again to austerity. At stake is the right of workers and militant trade unions to defend jobs and livelihoods. It is a fight for every trade unionist, socialist and anti-cuts campaigner to engage in now!


To Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, and Labour leader Frank McAveety,

I am writing to protest at the news that Glasgow Council is attempting to recruit a 'scab' workforce in order to attempt to break the legal industrial action of Unison members in the ICT service against privatisation.

I find it incredible and outrageous that a Labour council is resorting to these worst Tory methods rather than engage properly with the Unison branch to resolve the dispute.

The NSSN gives its full solidarity to the Unison branch and its members and will spread the word that this outrage is being carried out.

Rob Williams (NSSN National Chair)

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 1 December 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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