Strike agreement reached between council and Glasgow homelessness staff

Unison ScotlandHomeless caseworkers in Glasgow have accepted an offer from the city council after almost four months of strike action.

A total of 70 homeless staff walked out on March 31 over a pay dispute with the council.

The Glasgow Homeless Case Workers, all members of the Unison trade union, took action over the council’s job evaluation scheme, claiming they were paid £5,000 less compared to those doing a similar job.

An offer was recommended to a mass meeting yesterday by the union branch and the striking shop stewards and was voted by a clear majority by the workers. The union said the agreement secures the central demand of the dispute - parity on Grade 6 with other frontline social care staff.

The offer creates 68 new Grade 6 posts with the council describing that number as a floor. The three temporary caseworkers whose substantive posts are Grade 4 will be given permanent Grade 5 posts elsewhere in the homeless service. There will be a reduction in management posts through voluntary early retirement.

Unison said: “The council has insisted on an assessment process for the new Grade 6 posts and will not make any backdated payment. These were the reasons why those who voted to stay out did so. However the union will be consulted on the nature of the assessment process and workers will receive a one-off payment of £350 whilst the assessment process is completed.

“The strike has been successful in winning a £1,000 increase following the assessment process, rising to £5,000 by 2018. In addition, the council has been forced to concede an acceptable number of Grade 6 posts. The assessment process and the lack of any backdated money are a disappointment. In a climate of huge cuts to local government and against a hard-nosed management who tried to undermine the action by using other agencies then the overall outcome of the strike should be celebrated. The seventy strikers conducted themselves magnificently.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We are pleased our offer and the crucial service reform package that goes with it have been accepted - and that some staff will be returning to work in a new, enhanced community casework service that will support some of our most vulnerable citizens into settled accommodation.

“It would never have been possible to agree to re-grade these staff in their previous roles – however, many of them will now step into new, promoted posts with additional responsibilities following an interview.”

Glasgow Homelessness Caseworkers announced they would return to work on Tuesday, July 29.

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