Hundreds of schools, nurseries and care services have closed today as public sector workers strike for equal pay against the SNP run Glasgow City Council. The council has said the walkouts will achieve “nothing”.
Over 8,000 members of the GMB and Unison unions are taking part in the 48-hour industrial action on today and Wednesday. GMB Scotland organiser Rhea Wolfson said she aimed to bring the city to a “standstill” in order to push negotiations forward. “Equal pay is not a gift to be given, it is a right for our members to demand. At the moment, 8,000 of our members have gone on strike today because they have lost faith that that demand is going to be met.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “We understand why many of our workforce are angry about equal pay and we are also very aware of the depth of feeling there is behind this industrial action.
“However, the council is already committed to delivering equal pay and reaching a negotiated settlement on claims.
“There is nothing that the strike can achieve that we are not already doing and we are anxious to see everyone back around the table in good faith to move things forward.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, sent his solidarity, and stated that “it’s our duty to support them”.
I send my solidarity to women council workers in Glasgow who go on strike today to demand equal pay.
They are the carers, cleaners and caterers who are society's unsung heroes.
When they go on strike, it's our duty to support them. #GlasgowWomensStrike
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 23, 2018
Nicola Sturgeon, however, criticised the Labour leader, saying that she feels “contempt for a Labour Party expressing solidarity now when, in power, they took these women to court to deny equal pay”.
Glasgow council introduced a new pay and grading scheme in 2006, which was supposed to stop pay inequality based on gender. In reality, it included protections lasting three years for bonuses paid to men, but not women.
That prompted multiple employment tribunal cases arguing that it was both unfair and unlawful to continue pay discrimination for three years after the new scheme was put into place.