Friday, 13 March 2020

Taking a Stand - 'They Dance Alone'



'They Dance Alone' is a beautiful, haunting song about the murderous dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet whose military coup overthrew Chile's elected government and ruled the country between 1973 and 1990 with enormous cruelty against its own people. 

In my view, the lyrics by Sting are even more powerful when sung in Spanish, but listen to both and decide for yourself. 


The song was written long before the movie 'Nae Pasaran' which tells the story of a group of Scottish workers at the Rolls Royce plant in East Kilbride, thousands of miles away, who took a stand against fascism in support of the Chilean people.



  


Nae Pasaran! (05/11/18)



I was at the Glasgow Film Theatre last night to see 'Nae Pasaran', a hugely enjoyable and uplifting film that tells the story of the workers and union members at the Rolls Royce plant in East Kilbride who refused to work on aircraft engines which had been sent for repair to Scotland by General Pinochet's brutal fascist regime in Chile.

Go and see the movie for yourself - it will put a real spring in your step and make you proud.


Especially those of you who have been involved in the historic events surrounding the long fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council.


   

Making Glasgow Proud! (25/10/18)


Some great photos of some great people making Glasgow proud by standing up for their rights to equal pay!

  

























  

Respect, Glasgow! (24/20/28)



Here's what just one of Glasgow's equal pay claimants had to say about the solidarity shown by the council's refuse workers in the women's fight for equal pay with the City Council.


Big shout out for all the men who came out in solidarity to support us 

Guys we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts xx


F

I'm told that senior officials at Glasgow City Council are still threatening to discipline the workers involved and have demanded that the union/s repudiate the actions of their own members.

Fat chance that happening if you ask me, but what a stupid and bullying attitude on the part of the Council.



   

Respect, Glasgow! (24/10/18)



The Herald reports that every refuse worker in Glasgow City Council walked out yesterday in support of their women colleagues who are fighting for equal pay.

The refuse workers refused to cross the strikers picket lines in a show of solidity and John O'Connor, GMB rep for the city's refuse workers, said: 


"We all know about the equal pay strikes today and tomorrow.

"As cleansing operatives we came into work this morning to go about our normal business and present ourselves for work, but we didn't want to cross a picket as we are in total support of the women.

"Management came into our canteen and read out an official statement from the council stating that if we didn't go to work there'd be disciplinary action taken against us. "They basically said if you don't cross picket lines and go to work you won't be getting paid. In support of the women the guys in cleaning came out to support them wholeheartedly in the fight for justice.

"I believe it is shameful the way they've acted towards the women and the cohesion and communication, going back to local management, just isn't there. It's embarrassing."

I understand that these workers were threatened with disciplinary action and potentially the 'sack' for taking such action, but they refused to be intimidated by council management and stood their ground.

So the question is, "Who gave the instruction about taking disciplinary action - was this from senior bosses at the top of the Council or from the Council's political leadership?"

In any event, it takes real courage to stand up in these situations and I take off my hat to Glasgow's refuse workers for their show of support and solidarity. 


   

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17002039.glasgows-male-refuse-workers-walk-out-in-solidarity-with-equal-pay-women/

Glasgow's male refuse workers walk out in solidarity with equal pay women

By Catriona Stewart - The Herald



EVERY refuse worker in the city has walked out in solidarity with Glasgow's equal pay women.

Men attended work this morning at nine depots around Glasgow but refused to cross picket lines, downing tools and walking out.

The Evening Times had told yesterday how Glasgow City Council threatened refuse workers with disciplinary action should they protest.

Last night the council withdrew the threat and today a spokesman said there would be no disciplinary action taken against the men but they will be docked a day's pay..

He added: "We are disappointed that staff chose to take this course of action today and we would be asking the GMB to ask their members to return to work as usual tomorrow."

John O'Connor, GMB rep for the city's refuse workers, said: "We all know about the equal pay strikes today and tomorrow.

"As cleansing operatives we came into work this morning to go about our normal business and present ourselves for work, but we didn't want to cross a picket as we are in total support of the women.

"Management came into our canteen and read out an official statement from the council stating that if we didn't go to work there'd be disciplinary action taken against us. "They basically said if you don't cross picket lines and go to work you won't be getting paid. In support of the women the guys in cleaning came out to support them wholeheartedly in the fight for justice.

"I believe it is shameful the way they've acted towards the women and the cohesion and communication, going back to local management, just isn't there. It's embarrassing."

A council insider said it seemed unlikely that the mass action was not coordinated.

They said that if the men's action had been influenced by their union then that would be unlawful.

However, Rhea Wolfson, spokeswoman for the GMB, strongly refuted any suggestion that the union had asked refuse workers to walk out.

She said: "The cleansing workers feel great solidarity with their female colleagues.

"Refuse workers attended work this morning as usual and asked for alternative duties that meant they would not be crossing the picket line.

"This option was not taken up by the council and so the men decided to walk out and join picket lines.

"The refuse workers are a strong, strong trade union group and they know what it is like to need solidarity from people across the city."

Ms Wolfson said the solidarity shown by the men will be repeated tomorrow.

She said: "We have not yet been approached by Glasgow City Council about this but are more than happy to speak to them about the situation.

Glasgow - An Historic Day (25/10/18)



The Evening Times did well with its coverage of Glasgow's historic equal pay strike and the claimants couldn't be clearer about their frustrations - and reasons for withdrawing their labour.  

So let's hope the Council is listening and is now prepared to get down to the serious negotiations that were promised months ago to end this dispute.

  

https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/17003328.equal-pay-strike-glasgow-carers-felt-they-had-to-leave-their-beloved-clients-to-get-justice/

Equal Pay strike: Glasgow carers felt they had to leave their beloved clients to get justice

By Holly Lennon and Niall Christie - Evening Times



GLASGOW’S carers have said they felt they needed to leave their clients to achieve equal pay justice.

Thousands of Glasgow women sacrificed two days pay to protest their right to an equal wage, with carers across the city walking out yesterday.

Staff have told of their reluctance to take strike action, leaving many of those in need without care during the two days.

However, carers underlined the strong feelings they have for their clients shows the importance they put on this week’s strikes.

Read more: Equal pay women take over George Square

Carer Denise Phillips has worked for Glasgow City Council for 18 years and the 57-year-old has said that nobody wanted the strike action to happen.

She added: “We didn’t for one minute want to leave our clients, but we need to take action.

“This is your fault we are out on strike Glasgow City Council, not the fault of of our members or home carers.

“You’ve been robbing us for years and we’re going to keep fighting. This isn’t going to end until we get satisfaction with the pay we deserve.

“We’re the real ones on the ground and I can assure you that we will be well missed today. But at the end of the day we need to fight for our rights.”

Tracey Smyth is also a carer working with the council. Having done the job for three years, the 40-year-old says pressure on support staff continues to grow but no progress on pay was being made.

As a result, carers backed the action, despite the love they have for those they care for on a daily basis.

Read more: Equal pay women take over George Square

She said: “I don’t want to hurt them, I love my clients. But to be honest we’re not getting enough money.

“Give us what we are due. We deserve this. We’ve worked hard for the people of Glasgow, so the women and men of Glasgow deserve the pay that we need.

“Councillors and politicians say they are listening, but if they had been we wouldn’t have had all this chaos.

“We wouldn’t need to be here today. Ask anybody – nobody wants to be here.”

Many of the 8000 school staff, nursery workers, care workers, caterers and cleaners who took to the streets were involved in the initial 2006 dispute, but are yet to receive their payout.

Strikers said they had lost faith in the willingness of senior officials to deliver the settlements and had been given ‘no choice’ but to take industrial action.

Glasgow City Council cleansing staff showed solidarity with the workers by also taking part in the 48-hour strike.

At Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, workers of all ages formed a picket line at each of the four entrances backed by GMB and Unison unions.

Read more: Equal pay women take over George Square

The popular attraction was forced to close to the public as it failed to meet the minimum of 16 visitor staff required to open.

Among those striking was commis chef Kelly Hutchison, who has worked for the local authority for 25 years and is the only female in her team.

She said she had ‘lost out’ on the first round of settlements and is the lowest paid member of staff in the kitchen.

Kelly added: “I joined the Union because a lot of the politics in the building is wrong.

“I’m the lowest paid one in there and the only female – how is that fair?

“I’ve been working for the council for 25 years and all I want is to walk away with a decent wage and not have to work all sorts of hours to make ends meet.”

Younger members of the work force, who are on zero hours contracts, joined the strike which began from 7am yesterday.

The Mitchell Library also experienced disruption as cleaners and canteen staff walked out.

Signs were put in place inside the building asking visitors to take any rubbish away with them and use the vending machine if necessary.

Annette Thomson, 65, and Irene Patterson, 57, who have worked at the library for 36 years collectively, were last on the picket line as they waited for the next janitorial shift to arrive.

Having stood outside in the rain since 7am, they were pleased to receive a free lunch from a passing supporter.

“We’ve been waiting so long and nothing has happened.

“This was the last resort”, Annette explained.

“We’ve been to court and they voted in our favour and we still haven’t got anything. The SNP said if they got into power they would get it sorted and they haven’t done anything.

“The amount of money they’ve spent on legal fees would probably pay off a lot of the settlements.

“It’s not like they didn’t know this was happening.

“It’s really quite sad. Nobody wants to do this – it’s awful, especially for the carers. No-one can afford to lose two days pay, no matter who they are.”

Read more: Equal pay women take over George Square

In George Square, crowds gathered as the Equal Pay rally prepared to kick off.

Elizabeth McCloy and Julie Clark, catering staff at Mosspark Primary School, paid tribute to the women who had passed away before seeing the end of the dispute.

Elizabeth, who has worked in the school for 16 years, said: “People have passed away and not received any of the money they are owed.

“It’s money that could have been used to make illness or retirement more comfortable for them.

“If we couldn’t do our job, we would be out the door. The council can’t do their job so they should be out as well.

“They have no respect for women, and the men as well.

“This would have been sorted out years ago if we were men but we’re not going to be quiet about it anymore.

“We all pay council tax - we deserve our money.”

Julie, who has worked for the council for 26 years, said: “We’re angry now. They could have sorted this out years ago.

“Instead they’re making it out as if we’re at fault.”