STAFF at care homes run by Glasgow City Council are to step up industrial action with a three-day walkout.

The strike, due to begin today at 8am, is the third this year by Unison members at care homes for the elderly across the city. They are fighting changes to shift patterns and job roles, which may result in pay cuts of up to £1495 a year for some staff.

However, the council claims most employees have already agreed to the changes, which came into force at the end of last month. They say staff were consulted over the new terms, which allow for more weekends off.

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Unison has raised concerns over the move to 12-and-a-half-hour shifts and claims the staff-to-resident ratio on the new night shift is inadequate.

There are around 600 residents in the affected homes, which have about 500 staff.

In a letter to David Williams, the executive director of social work at Glasgow City Council, Unison branch secretary Brian Smith and health and safety officer Scott Donohoe said they had "major concern" about the potential impact of extended shift work on members' health and wellbeing.

Mr Smith added: "The council has tried to bully workers into agreeing to the wage cuts and changes on an individual basis and has been unwilling to reach an agreement with the trade union.

"Unison members do not take this strike action lightly but have been left with no alternative."

A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate, which has been liaising with the council over the possible impact to the homes' residents, said: "In any situation like this we expect contingency measures to be in place to ensure the vital services provided."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "Contingency plans have been drawn up and we are confident these will allow the homes to be run as close to normal as possible."