Latest Public Sector News

23.10.18

Equal pay protest sees 8,000 Glasgow council workers strike for two days

Glasgow council workers have staged one of the UK’s biggest strikes in a 48-hour protest against unequal pay for women, with hundreds of schools shutting down and home care services affected.

An estimated 8,000 protesters have taken to the streets after a “lack of progress” around equal pay claims from thousands of female workers, the GMB and Unison unions said.

Primary schools and nurseries have closed, and other services could be hit because of the two-day strike. Glasgow City Council has called the walkout was unnecessary.

The local authority said before the strikes began that it was exploring all options to avert the industrial action, which would have a “very significant impact on care, education and some other services.”

But Unison’s Dave Prentis said: “In Glasgow, the fight for fairness has been long and hard. Today and tomorrow, thousands of women will be on strike to continue their long running campaign to win the equal pay they have been denied for too long.

“For 12 years they’ve fought for equal pay, and yet throughout Glasgow City Council have dragged their heels and failed to pay these incredible public service workers the wage they deserve.”

Glasgow CC announced in January that it planned to reach a negotiated settlement to thousands of equal pay claim.

These have arisen due to a pay and conditions scheme introduce more than a decade ago, which campaigners argue has led to workers in female-dominated roles, such as catering, receiving up to £3 less an hour than those in male-dominated areas, such as refuse collection.

The council said the authority and claimants’ representatives, including the two unions that have called the strike, have agreed a timetable of negotiations up until the end of the year, and expects to make an offer in December.

The mass protest in Scotland has been widely supported, with the European public service union, EPSU, describing the strikes as an “equal pay victory for the thousands of Glasgow women.”

After the Court of Session ruling on Glasgow last year, GMB announced in February that fresh legal proceedings were to commence against Fife Council over the non-payment of equal pay settlements for over 60 workers.

The union members and campaigners in Glasgow won a landmark victory in the equal pay dispute against the city council back in August.

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Image credit - Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images 

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