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Glasgow homelessness caseworkers
All-out pay strike forces Labour council back to table
The all-out indefinite strike for fair pay and grading by 70 Glasgow homelessness caseworkers, now in its eighth week, has brought the Labour council back to the negotiating table with a meeting planned on 20 May.
At the last meeting on 24 April management arrogantly dismissed the strikers' demands.
The homelessness caseworkers are underpaid by £5,000 a year for the level of work they carry out compared to other frontline staff in addiction services or older people's teams. But the council made no commitment to resolve this, only offering an eight week review if the strikers went back to work.
Chris, a Unison steward from the North East team, spoke to the Socialist: "The council has been forced by the strike being effective, with the breaking down of every part of the homelessness service, to negotiate with the union.
"They need to offer something real, not like last time, for us to consider though. The support we are getting from other council staff is keeping us going."
There are now questions about the viability of management running the four main workplaces from which the caseworkers operate, with rumours that two offices may be closed in the coming week.
Already in the North East office, management has put up notices saying the office closes at 3:30pm due to industrial action. They denied this in the press, claiming the service is business as usual, despite pictures of the notices being taken by service users.
Notices have also been put up at offices telling homeless people to go elsewhere unless they are an emergency case, despite this breaking the council's legal requirement to provide support.
Kim McLachlan of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) Unison reported at a strike rally that bids for accommodation received by homeless workers at GHA had gone down by two thirds.
There aren't fewer homeless people in Glasgow, but fewer are being assessed due to the effectiveness of the council homeless caseworkers' action.
There is a log-jam of service users in temporary accommodation who can't be assessed for permanent housing.
On Thursday 14 May, 40 hospital porters from Dundee - also on all-out strike for regrading and fair pay - visited the homeless case workers.
At a meeting of over 100 strikers from both disputes Ian Leech, Glasgow City Unison social work convenor and Socialist Party Scotland member, said: "Less than 200 strikers in the two disputes have had a massive impact.
"Imagine if the trade union leaders coordinated national action, we could push back the pay freeze and austerity cuts."
In The Socialist 20 May 2015:
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