Care workers among council staff to strike in equal pay compensation dispute

Council workers are to walk out over an equal pay dispute in two days of strike action that a union said will affect home care, schools and other services.

Unison said its members in Glasgow will strike on March 29 and 30 and will then do so again in April if there is no resolution to the dispute.

It is calling out nearly 9,000 members and said that, with a sister trade union also joining the action, more than 12,000 workers could strike, affecting home care, cleaning, catering, schools, nurseries, residential homes, homelessness hostels and addiction services across the council.

Glasgow City Council agreed to pay out at least £500 million in 2019 following a long-running equal pay row.

Women claimed they were paid £3 an hour less than men in similarly graded roles after a 2006 pay review aimed at ensuring pay parity.

Unison branch chairwoman Kath Stirling said: “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.

“There is no moral or political justification for such an approach. 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?

“We say no dumping of the 2019 deal. No exclusions.”

She added: “We are not going away until the council meets its obligations to women in this city.”

The 2019 agreement settled pay claims up until March 2018 and included a new pay and grading system to rectify issues of unequal pay, primarily of women.

The union said that, since then, around 5,500 new claims have been lodged for the period prior to March 2018, with nearly 20,000 claimants awaiting settlements for the period after that.

It said the current dispute centres around whether the new claimants receive the terms of the 2019 agreement.

Unison members voted 96% for strike action on a 52.5% turnout.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We simply don’t recognise this characterisation of the council’s position.

“Last week, committee gave officials authority to make offers to new claimants on the same basis as the 2019 deal.

“The council is absolutely following the process agreed with claimants’ representatives and firmly believes that negotiation is the way to settle these cases.

“We’ll be seeking a meeting with unions this week.”

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