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Care homes staff to strike over pay cuts

STAFF at care homes that support 600 people have planned two days of strike action in a row over pay and shift patterns.

Workers at Glasgow's 15 ­residential care homes for elderly people and a home for people with physical disabilities are planning to walk out on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Trade union Unison said its members voted for the action in a bid to stop pay cuts, "unacceptable changes" to job roles and a move to 12-and-a-half hour shifts.

It says the council is proposing to slash up to 7% of the wages of 182 workers, from the workforce of just over 500, by introducing the new shift pattern.

However, the local authority is arguing the changes will reduce reliance on agency staff.

A Glasgow City Council ­spokesman said the new shift pattern would bring about some changes for staff who currently receive extra payments for working unsociable hours.

The move comes after a series of strikes last year by Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) employed by the local authority at schools across the city.

As The Herald reported, the PSAs walked out in a row about staff having to take on extra healthcare duties.

Union members plan to picket outside the residential care homes during next week's action, which officially starts at 10pm on Monday.

In another twist, council ­officials said Unison will not make available "life and limb cover" during the walkout.

The council said it was making arrangements to ensure there is minimal disruption to residents.

In a leaflet, Unison said the planned changes were "totally unacceptable".

It said there were fears over some workers having to take on extra tasks, such as administering medicine.

It added: "The council has tried to bully workers into agreeing to the wage cuts and changes on an individual basis.

"Unison members do not take this strike action lightly but have been left with no alternative. The purpose of the strike action is to force the council to reach a negotiated settlement acceptable to Unison members."

Langside councillor Susan Aitken, who is the SNP group's social care spokeswoman, said: "It is an extremely worrying development that another group of low-paid council staff who are delivering an essential care service feel the need to take industrial action.

"Pupil Support Assistants were forced out on strike at the end of last year and we are now hearing reports of the same kind of tactics being used to force staff in elderly care homes to accept wage cuts and other changes to their conditions."

The council spokesman said the majority of staff had agreed to the proposals.

He said: "We are disappointed with the result of the ballot but it is clear that only a very small proportion of the overall workforce has voted in favour of industrial action.

"Prior to the ballot, 93% of staff had confirmed in writing their agreement with the new arrangements.

"We wish to continue discussions with the trades unions on how to resolve this issue."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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