RELATIONS between a leading trade union and Scotland's largest council have further plummeted amid allegations striking care workers were wearing balaclavas, with police assistance required over claims of disorder.

Glasgow's social work bosses have accused Unison members of preventing food being delivered to elderly residents and disrupting them as they slept during the workers' two-day action this week.

In a letter to all councillors in the city, David Williams, executive director of social care services, also alleges some striking staff were wearing "dark clothing and balaclavas" on picket lines and that police were called.

He said: "The police also required to be called on a few ­occasions because of the level of noise and disruption on the picket lines. There were some instances of anxiety among residents."

Unison disputed the claims, insisting that residents had sought assistance from picketers as they were unhappy with alternative provision.

One senior union official described the complaints as "surreal" and likely to inflame the mood of its members.

Workers at Glasgow's ­residential care homes for elderly people and a home for people with physical disabilities walked out on Tuesday and Wednesday over pay cuts, "unacceptable changes" to job roles and a move to 12-and-a-half hour shifts.

Unison said the changes left almost 200 staff almost £1500 a year worse off.

The strike affected 600 people in 15 elderly care homes and one home caring for people with physical disabilities. In his letter to the city's 79 ­councillors, Mr Williams said 99 staff took part in the action but that the authority would "be formally writing to Unison headquarters to complain about the conduct and behaviour of many of the picketers".

He said this included ­preventing the delivery of food for residents in some of the care homes and shining headlights of cars at the night time shift change on to one home entrance, "and by extension into the bedroom windows of residents".

He said it also included "at night time manning the ­pickets outside homes wearing dark clothes and in some instances balaclavas; wandering around the gardens outside residents' windows; having excess numbers of picketers beyond the legal maximum of six, and in most cases having a majority of ­picketers not being members of staff from residential care homes".

He also said 97% of staff had now signed up to the new arrangements, while official sources were keen to point out that the action at the vast majority of the care homes passed off without incident.

Unison last night told The Herald the allegations were "full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations", while also disputing the figures given by Mr Williams on the numbers who have taken part in the action.

Brian Smith, branch secretary of Glasgow City Unison, also said complaints were raised over the behaviour of senior managers during the 48-hour action.

He added: "Unison does not issue strike balaclavas. I myself stood in the pouring rain late at night with my hood up and a scarf around me. We are in the middle of winter just now.

"Our members are hurt by ­allegations of creeping around outside the windows of people they care for. Not only does it question their professionalism, it's an incredible and contemptuous claim."

The action comes after a series of strikes last year by Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) employed by the council at schools across the city. The PSAs walked out in a row about staff having to take on extra healthcare duties.

Unison members were also involved in wildcat action at homeless units last year and are in wranglings with the council, along with the other main unions, over the cancellation of annual leave around the ­Commonwealth Games. They are d­emanding one-off payments as compensation.