Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Glasgow Turf War

A number of readers from Glasgow have kindly sent me a copy of the latest GMB letter to members working for Cordia.

Now this janitors' dispute looks to me like bit of a 'turf war', a recruitment war, between two unions which is not that unusual I have to say, as one side or another tries to impress a particular group with a militant stance in order to win more members.

Regular readers will know that I have written about the 'Justice 4 Jannies' campaign on the blog site previously and it seems crazy to me that the any union should single out just one group for special treatment.

Because the groups that have fared worst from the City Council's new pay arrangement (i.e. the WPBR) are the workers employed in predominantly female jobs: cleaners, carers, catering staff, clerical workers, classroom assistants and so on.  

So, if you ask me, the GMB is right to say that no one group should be given priority over another and in that sense the GMB is finally catching up with what I said on the blog site back in March 2016 - see the post below dated 18/03/16.

But what also needs to be said and understood by the City Council employees is that the trade unions who are now complaining about the WPBR (GMB, Unison and Unite) are the very same trade unions (i.e.GMB, Unison and Unite) who copied up to the City Council when the WPBR pay arrangements were introduced back in 2006/7.

In other words the local unions in Glasgow are trying to face both ways at the same time because while they are now complaining about the WPBR pay scheme, the truth is that they helped usher in these bizarre pay arrangements in the first place.

Here endeth the lesson.


Dear GMB Member

GMB Scotland in Cordia – Unison Janitorial Dispute & Fair Pay for All

Many of you will be aware that there has been a long-standing dispute with janitorial staff in our sister trade union Unison and Glasgow City Council (GCC).

GMB is aware that discussions between both parties to end this dispute have been on-going for some time and that GCC leader Susan Aitken has publicly committed to resolving this dispute during the recent council election campaign.

As you know, GMB also has members in janitorial services and I have been in contact with the leadership’s chief negotiator Councillor Feargal Dalton to alert GCC to the fact that decent terms and conditions are the right of all Cordia workers.

We would like to reassure members that any deal to settle the dispute between GCC and Unison janitors, exclusively a male workforce, will not be done on the back of GMB members, predominantly women in care, cleaning and catering, employed elsewhere in Cordia.

GMB has delivered the first decent pay rise for all Cordia workers for over a decade – but it’s only the first step in our campaign for pay parity. The reality is that after a decade of austerity on finances, Cordia needs more funding from GCC to bridge the gap in non-core pay rates.

The new council has been elected on a manifesto promise to end pay inequality across Glasgow. They are also considering a review to bring all ALEOs back ‘in house’. GMB believes that action on both fronts is vital to the delivery of fair pay across the ‘Glasgow family’.

GCC can make good on their promises by bringing Cordia back under their control and ensure all Cordia staff receive the same terms and conditions as their council colleagues. GMB is pressing GCC to do just that.

Strikingly Different (18/03/17)

I don't know enough about this janitors strike in Glasgow to say whether the workers involved have a strong case or not, but I'll bet there are lots of women trade union members scratching their heads and asking themselves:

"Where have all the strikes and protests been during the long 10-year fight for equal pay in Scotland's councils?"

Because although I've taken an active interest in this subject since 2005 I cannot recall a major campaign and/or industrial action on behalf of women workers in Scottish local government whose jobs are still, by and large, stuck at the bottom of the pay ladder.

I must take another look at this Working Context and Demands Payment which is part of Glasgow City Council's local job evaluation scheme (JES), of course.

More than 100 Glasgow school janitors begin strike in pay dispute

BBC Glasgow & West Scotland

Image copyright - Dave Moxham Image caption - Janitors on strike held a demonstration outside the City Chambers

More than 100 school janitors in Glasgow have begun a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

The Unison union said its members wanted additional payments for undertaking tasks which were dirty, unpleasant, involved regularly working outside or heavy lifting.

The staff involved in the action are employed by Cordia - an arms-length body of Glasgow City Council.

All schools were open on Monday but some breakfast clubs were cancelled.

The dispute centres on a claim by janitors for a Working Context and Demands Payment, which can range from £500 to £1,000 annually.

'No option'

The union has accused Cordia of "using spurious arguments to justify not making this payment" to its members.

Unison Glasgow branch officer Sam Macartney said: "Unison is very clear that school janitors meet the criteria to be awarded this payment.

"Our members have been left with no option other than to take this action as both Cordia and the council are wrong and just not listening to our members.

"The council needs to get round the table with Unison and agree a negotiated settlement of our members' legitimate claim."

Image copyright - Dave Moxham

Janitors on strike turned up at the City Chambers on Monday "with buckets, mops and brooms" to stage a demonstration. Another will be held on Tuesday.

Picket lines were organised on Monday morning with a repeat planned for Wednesday.

The union said teachers, support workers, cleaners and catering staff had been advised by their unions not to undertake the duties of janitors in their absence.

A council spokesman said: "Some of the city's janitors took part in industrial action in a number of our primary, Additional Support for Learning schools and nurseries today, with similar action planned for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

"This action unfortunately meant that Breakfast Clubs in affected schools had to be cancelled."