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Date: Mon 23 July 2007

Key Glasgow social care staff strike

Nearly 600 social care staff working for Glasgow City Council will start a strike from 24 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 most methadone users in the City.

They had planned to work-to-role from Monday 9 July in protest at their role profile placing by the Council's Pay and Benefits Review. However they had to postpone this action when it became clear that the council were considering a legal challenge.

Because of this threat a recent mass meeting saw staff move to implement the all-out strike option that they also voted for, and other colleagues in Area Social Work teams will be balloted on supportive strike action if strikers work is allocated to them. This ballot will commence Thursday 26th July.

Mike Kirby UNISON's Glasgow Convenor said "UNISON has endevoured to seek a solution to the dispute, through direct meetings with the Chief Executive's Office and Social Work Services Directorate during the past week.

"However the council has offered no direct solution to the issue in dispute - the Role Profile, although Social Work Services have presented in outline terms a means of dealing with consequential detriment. This would involve an element of service re-design and re-training. But the proposals would not be available before the Autumn and it is not clear what numbers of those in potential detriment would be covered. It is "jam tomorrow" for an unknown number, we question the time it would take and the Council's capacity to deliver."

UNISON has said it is interested in developing the proposal, but that it does not address the issue in dispute, and any service re-design could involve workloads falling to smaller numbers of staff.

Mike Kirby said "These are the staff that work day-after-day to ensure that people get their support to enable them to live full lives. They have only gone on strike because the council threatened a legal challenge if the union took action short of a strike. The council are using vulnerable people to force through a downgrading of care work. No-one wants a strike in this area, and the council could resolve it tomorrow."

In another dispute in Glasgow Social Work, Residential staff have been successful in industrial action shifting the Council on payments for weekend working, and the overtime ban in Residential Care has been lifted


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: Mike Kirby (Convenor - Glasgow City Branch UNISON 07803 952 261 (m) Mandy McDowall (Regional Officer) 07903 846 427(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)