Glasgow schools and care homes to be impacted by strike action

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Credit: Creative Commons / Kim Traynor

Sam Doak
Reporter

Council provides update on which services are to be affected by strikes taking place at the end of the month

Glasgow City Council has released guidance on which services are likely to be most affected by this month’s industrial action concerning equal pay. Over eight thousand council workers are set to strike in response to the Council’s handling of an equal pay dispute on October 23-24. According to the Council, the services likely to be most affected by this are education and social care.

The Council has advised that during the strike a number of schools will be unable to operate. Facilities catering for preschoolers are likely to remain closed for the entirety of the strike, as are most Council-operated primary schools and schools that cater to pupils with additional needs. Most secondary schools are expected to operate mostly as normal during this time however, pupils who require additional support may be advised to stay home due to shortages of support staff. The Council has stated that the parents of any pupils affected by this month’s strike will be notified in advance.

In regards to social care, the Council has advised that recipients of such services should expect significant disruption. Due to staff shortages, the Council’s ability to provide services such as Homecare is expected to be limited over this period. The Council says that it will allocate its resources during this time so that the most vulnerable recipients of care services are taken care of as a matter of priority.

Any further updates on the disruption of Council-provided services will be posted on the Council’s official website.

The Council’s issuing of guidance relating to the disruption of services was quickly followed by the publication of an interview of Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council in the Evening Times. Aitken heavily criticised the unions involved in organising this month’s strike and questioned whether the strike was a justified response, stating: “The most important thing is we are facing two days of disruption to services to the lives of citizens and the most vulnerable citizens in Glasgow and I’m not at all clear still what the justification for that is. It doesn’t seem to me to be a strong enough basis to bring your members out, to ask them to lose pay, and to shut schools in the city and the biggest concern is the Homecare clientele.”

According to the GMB and Unison, the trade unions organising this month’s industrial action, their members are striking due to the breakdown of negotiations concerning the settlement of equal pay claims. Thousands of women are currently pursuing claims against the Council on the grounds that they were underpaid in comparison to male council employees in jobs of equivalent value.

In response to Susan Aitken’s criticisms, an official from the GMB made the following remarks: “Susan Aitken is making the same mistakes as her predecessors. We are at a junction where Susan Aitken either chooses to show real leadership or continues as a mouthpiece of the same Council officials.

“The trade unions have been clear from the start that what we are seeking is meaningful negotiations so that any offer made reflects the loss suffered by our members. We remind her that the roadmap for re-engaging in negotiations has been laid out.

“Susan Aitken is deeply misled if she believes that this strike is not driven by union members unhappy with the Council’s negotiating process, and we invite her to meet with our members to have them tell her as much face-to-face.”