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Date: Thurs 5 July 2007

Key Glasgow social care staff may strike

Nearly 600 social care staff working for Glasgow City Council may end up on strike from next Monday (9 July) in a dispute over job grading UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's Social Work staff said today.

The staff manage the cases for children at risk, vulnerable adults and offenders, assess needs, monitor the services that support the person or family and are accountable to the Children's Panel, Courts and formal Community Care Reviews. They manage the cases for all methadone users in the City.

They have voted by a majority of 96% to take part in a 'work-to-role' from Monday in protest at a council pay and grading review that has downgraded their jobs and left many of them facing a loss of £1,000 a year. Glasgow City Council has threatened any staff taking part in this protest with suspension, which will provoke a strike from the other staff.

The staff say that the 'role profile' that the job evaluation has left them on, does not cover all the job they perform, and - as the council has refused to re-evaluate their jobs, they will stop doing the parts of the jobs that are not covered.

These include cases and reports for Children's Panels; cases and reports for Court; case hearings for adults with incapacity, direct payments or shared/comprehensive assessments. The staff will refuse to continue with those parts of the job from 11.00am on Monday.

Brian Smith, Secretary of UNISON's Glasgow Social Work Stewards said "The members have clearly been allocated to the wrong role profile by the council's job evaluation exercise, but despite the opportunity to address the problem at the review hearing the employer failed to take it. They therefore voted overwhelmingly to demonstrate what working to the role allocated would mean. Members have not only lost faith in the process but are now being bullied by their employer and threatened with suspension for exposing the failings of the exercise."

The council has so far not approached the union to discuss emergency cover, and UNISON is angry at council statements attempting to pin the blame for loss of service to users on these staff.

Brian Smith said "Far from being 'cruel and cynical' these are the staff that work day-after-day to ensure that people get their support to enable them to live full lives. They will only be on strike if the council removes them from their job by suspending them. The council are the people using the vulnerable to force through a downgrading of care work. No-one wants a strike in this area, and the council could resolve it tomorrow."


Note for editors: The Fieldwork Social Care Workers voted by 96% for action short of a strike. In a second ballot they voted by 87% for strike action.

For Further Information Please Contact: Brian Smith (Secretary - Glasgow SW Stewards) 07870 914 361 (m) Many McDowall (Regional Officer) 07903 846 427(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)