Schools and home care disrupted by Glasgow equal pay strike

Schools and home care disrupted by Glasgow equal pay strike

Strikers march to Glasgow Council's city chambers during 48-hour strike. Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hundreds of schools and nurseries are shut as council workers strike for 48 hours in one of the UK’s biggest equal pay strikes.

Home care services will also be disrupted on Tuesday and Wednesday as more than 8,000 members of the GMB and Unison unions strike over pay at Glasgow City Council.

The council has described the strike as unnecessary and has said that it hopes to reach a settlement in the coming months and start paying out in the next financial year.

Glasgow City Council said all early years establishments, additional support for learning (ASL) schools and mainstream primary schools will close on both days, though all mainstream secondary schools will remain open.

Home care services for around 6,000 people are affected by the industrial action.

Anna Murray is a cleaning supervisor at The Mitchell Library, where there will be a picket line, and has worked there for 25 years.

She said: "We've waited 10 years for equal pay and the council doesn't seem to be doing anything to pay it so we've gone out on strike in support of getting our equal pay paid. I just feel that we're very underpaid for the work that we do.

"We hope that the council speed things up and gets equal pay for the people that are waiting for it."


'A devastating impact' 

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken told BBC Radio Scotland: “The strike will have a devastating impact and there's no need for it.

"They won their case the day that the SNP was elected to lead Glasgow City Council and we have been working ever since then to deliver them justice.

"We are extremely close to it and I am confident that they will get the settlement that they are entitled to and we will start paying out in the next financial year."

The local authority introduced its Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR) and grading scheme in 2006 to tackle inequalities.

Some female workers say the way it is structured led to people in female-dominated roles are being paid up to £3 an hour less than people in male-dominated roles.

Some women are said to have been paid up to £4,000 a year less than male counterparts.


'No meaningful effort' 

The council said the way union leaders have approached the strike has been "hugely disappointing".

A spokesman said: "There has been absolutely no meaningful effort from the unions to work with us and their membership to ensure that life and limb cover will be in place."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his support to those striking in Glasgow with a post on twitter.

He said: “I send my solidarity to women council workers in Glasgow who go on strike today to demand equal pay.

“They are the carers, cleaners and caterers who are society’s unsung heroes.

“When they go on strike, it’s our duty to support them.”