Care staff claim victory after 7-day walkout

HUNDREDS of care staff who staged a strike are claiming victory in a bitter dispute with Glasgow City Council.

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Care workers went on strike last month over council plans
Care workers went on strike last month over council plans

Nearly 400 members of Unison's Glasgow City Branch who work in council homes for older people took seven days of strike action on January and February of this year over planned cuts in shift payments and changes to job roles.

Now the union says the staff have "secured important concessions and forced back an anti-trade union and anti-collective bargaining approach from the Labour controlled council".

In early 2014, the council moved ahead with the implementation of cuts in shift payments, changes to job roles and a move to 12.5-hour night shifts.

The changes included 122 full time workers losing £1495 per year and 60 part timers losing of £794 per year in wages, according to Unison.

The council also refused to maintain the wages of any worker who had been in a temporary higher graded post for less than four years and sought to alter the job roles of the lowest paid workers to include the administration of medicines.

Unison members viewed the new staff to resident ratio on the new night shift as inadequate and a risk to the care of the 600 residents.

Finally, the council agreed to increase the core minimum staffing levels in all 15 homes and a one-off payment equal to the value of one year's loss of pay for those dayshift workers who lost wages due to the cut in their shift payment.

Ian Leech, convenor of social work with Unison's Glasgow City Branch, said: "From a trade union point of view this is a significant gain for the members and a testament to their resolve.

"There will be a reduction in loss of income through the one-off payment and there are also gains as far as the service is concerned, with levels of staff being increased, particularly on the night shift."

The strikes had a huge impact on the residential service, Unison said, and secured widespread support from residents and their families and "rattled the senior council managers and politicians".

A Unison statement added: "The council's initial response was to publicly attack their own workforce including a bizarre and unfounded public rant by the social work director about strikers wearing 'dark clothes and balaclavas whilst wandering about the gardens of the homes' during strike days.

"The council only made the revised offer due to the pressure exerted on them by Unison members taking strike action."

A council spokesman said: "The main objective of the council's reform was to move to the new shift pattern and that has been achieved in full.

"We are pleased a negotiated agreement has been reached on a range of issues, which highlights the benefit of on-going, constructive dialogue."

Local government

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