Glasgow Council’s social care services look set to be hit by indefinite strike action by almost 600 social care assistants today in a job grading dispute.
Public service union Unison claims the assistants – known as social care workers or para-professionals – have been placed in a job band that does not reflect the scope and complexity of their work, following a job evaluation process across the council last year.
Unison members overwhelmingly voted to work to their job profile from today – by refusing to carry out more complex tasks – and also backed strike action if the council suspended anyone for refusing work. But the council said that it would deem anyone refusing work to be effectively on strike and send them home.
Unison social work convenor for Glasgow, Ronnie Stevenonson, said the grade given to social care workers did not reflect the work children’s services staff did in completing reports for children’s hearing panels, which handle cases involving young offenders and children with significant welfare needs.
It also did not reflect complex assessments carried out by adult care workers, or the fact that they managed the care of people who lacked capacity.
Stevenson added there was a £4,000 annual pay gap between the top of the band they had been placed in and the band above, in which Unison claims they should have been placed.
A council spokesperson said the industrial action was premature because staff could still appeal against their job grade.
He added: “It is clear that the unions have adopted a strategy of trying to force the council’s hand by hurting the most vulnerable in society.”
Glasgow Council averted a three-day strike by care staff last December after reaching a deal with Unison to protect the pay of staff who would have lost money in the job evaluation.