East Dunbartonshire council workers strike, photo Socialist Party Scotland

East Dunbartonshire council workers strike, photo Socialist Party Scotland   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland

A four-day council workers’ strike (21, 22, 25 and 26 June) took place in East Dunbartonshire involving Unison, Unite and GMB unions. This is in response to an onslaught on workers’ terms and conditions by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition council.

It includes the removal of three days’ annual leave, increasing the notional working day and reducing the time when unsocial hours payments apply, removal of enhanced overtime and cuts to the redundancy payments framework, opening the way to compulsory redundancies.

48 hours before the strike action the council offered to cut just one day of annual leave and small concessions on other issues. Mass meetings of council workers rejected the offer.

The strike was widespread and solid. Pickets and union stewards told us that this was the biggest strike mobilisation since the pensions dispute in 2011, possibly bigger.

A huge rally took place at the Marina council headquarters in the evening of the 21st, taking up the whole road. Over 2,000 attended, with workers’ families supporting.

Tory and Liberal councillors were booed as they entered for a council meeting.

The local labour movement has mobilised in support. Solidarity has poured in, with socialist-led Glasgow City Unison donating to the strike fund.

Consideration will have to be given to escalating the strike action, possibly to a week-long walkout, if the council does not back down on the attacks.

This strike also raises important political questions as the SNP and Labour have publicly supported the strike.

This is while both are making cuts and attacking workers’ terms and conditions in other Scottish councils such as neighbouring West Dunbartonshire (SNP) and North Lanarkshire (Labour).