Earlier this month, 90% of education staff – including school learning support workers, school administration workers and early years nursery workers; and 99% of workers employed to conduct public services like home care, cleaning and catering by private contractor Cordia, voted for industrial action.
Altogether, around 8,000 members of Unison and GMB are expected to join the 48-hour strike after negotiations with the Council failed to progress.
Lawyer Stefan Cross QC, of Action4Equality Scotland, who is representing the women, said executives at the Council had not responded to proposals made by the unions regarding suitable comparators for pay, despite engaging with the employer over a long period.
“There has been no realistic attempts to negotiate. They have been going through the motions,” he told the Glasgow Evening Times.
“We have had 21 meetings with [Deputy Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council] Carole Forrest and we have negotiated absolutely nothing.”
“In all my years practicing law, I can’t say this is negotiation,” he added, explaining that no timetable has been agreed for the talks and the Council continues to offer the women a pay settlement less than what they are entitled to.
The Council has hit back at the strikers, with SNP leader Susan Aitken saying industrial action puts services users’ lives at risk, and telling the Glasgow Evening News that the 8,000 women didn’t understand why they were taking action and were being led blindly into it by union leaders.
Brian Smith, Unison Glasgow branch secretary, responded: “How patronising to working class women.
“The members are pushing the union leadership on this. It is the other way round from what the council leader is saying,” he told the newspaper. “We are responding to calls from our membership.”
Hazel Nolan, GMB Scotland Organiser, added: “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.”
“Any suggestion that strike action is being motivated by anything other than a desire to achieve a fair settlement for working women isn’t credible given the fact that both Unison & GMB are involved in the dispute and the strength of the mandates both unions received for action,” she added.