Glasgow equal pay protest on 8 March 2022. Photo: Matt Dobson
Glasgow equal pay protest on 8 March 2022. Photo: Matt Dobson

Socialist Party Scotland

Unison and GMB trade union members at Glasgow City Council are to strike on 29-30 March over equal pay compensation payments.

The workers, overwhelmingly women, will then strike again in April if there is no resolution to the dispute. A statement from Glasgow City Unison, in which Socialist Party Scotland and Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters play a leading role, says:

“Unison is calling out nearly 9,000 members, and with our sister trade union, also joining the action, this could see over 12,000 workers out on strike.

“This is larger than the historic equal pay strike in the city four years ago and will affect home care, cleaning, catering, schools, nurseries, residential homes, homelessness hostels, addiction services and admin functions across the council.”

Kath Stirling, Unison branch chair, says: “The purpose of the strike action is to force the council to maintain the current arrangements for equal pay compensation payments. These were won after the last strike but the council is moving to tear up those arrangements. This could see smaller payments for some and others left out completely. These are the same women, in the same jobs, still being paid under the same discriminatory gender pay scheme. The women and their jobs haven’t changed so why should the compensation arrangements?”

Socialist Party Scotland gives full solidarity to Glasgow council workers in this historic dispute.

Disgracefully, the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration is again showing its anti-trade union colours by trying to dump the 2019 deal. The 2018 equal pay strike was a mass shutdown of council services for 48 hours with cleansing and other council departments walking out in solidarity, in defiance of the anti-trade union laws.

In the run-up to this year’s council elections and the escalating cost of living crisis, this strike will be even more politically damaging for the SNP.

The whole workers’ movement must give support to this strike, including the Scottish TUC. Solidarity action and coordinating national strike action for pay increases in line with price rises are essential.

Again and again Glasgow’s low-paid female workers have been let down, not just by the SNP but Labour in Glasgow before them.

That’s why a socialist, pro-trade union political alternative is urgently needed. Scottish TUSC is standing candidates across Glasgow in the forthcoming elections in support of the equal pay strike, but also for a fighting, no-cuts, needs-budget policy where the council utilises financial mechanisms to stop the cuts and funds the needs of working-class people in the city, mobilising a mass campaign to demand the funding from Holyrood and Westminster.