All workers deserve a fair deal for Commonwealth Games, says UNISON

Date: Fri 18 July 2014

Trade union members in Glasgow’s Sports Centres and Museums are in dispute with their employer Glasgow Life, a company run by Glasgow City Council. The dispute is over payments for working during the Commonwealth Games.

Workers in Glasgow City Council, other council run companies and the city’s transport companies will be paid enhanced rates and specific payments for working more hours during the Games.

However, workers in the city’s Sports Centres and Museums will receive only their basic pay rate for any additional hours they work. Many workers are already on a low income, and many have had shift changes forced on them without their agreement. And many have also had their annual leave curtailed during school holidays.

Brian Smith, UNISON’s City of Glasgow branch secretary, said, ‘Glasgow Life workers are working hard to make Glasgow Commonwealth Games a success. We want these games to succeed just like everyone else. But these workers earn an average of £16,500 per year. These are the people who are working hard to deliver the Commonwealth Games but can’t afford tickets to go. They deserve fair treatment.’

On Wednesday 16 July, instead of sitting down to find a solution, Glasgow Life began legal moves to take UNISON to court under the anti-trade union laws to halt official strike action planned for 21 July.

Mandy McDowall, UNISON’s regional organiser, said,

‘We cannot allow such actions to go unchallenged. Our members voted overwhelmingly (76%) to take strike action. But rather than sit down with us to resolve the dispute Glasgow Life chose to use the anti-trade union legislation introduced by the Tories. Glasgow Life should spend more time trying to resolve this dispute rather than attempting to undermine the democratic votes of trade union members.’

UNISON members will continue their ‘pop-up protests’, within the law, to protest against being treated as second class workers


Notes to editors

1. UNISON members voted overwhelmingly for strike action (76%) in the recent ballot because their employer refused to treat them the same as other workers in the city, for the extra hours they will be working during the Commonwealth Games.

2. The average wage of those balloted is £18,000 per year full time equivalent (approx). Most work a 30 hour week and actually receive £16,500 per year (approx). This workforce rely on overtime to make ends meet.

3. Glasgow Life made a legal challenge over a procedural error, under the anti-trade union laws introduced in 1992 by the Conservative Government. The challenge was over the technical wording in a formal strike notice letter which was given to members, by UNISON.

4. Glasgow Life, with the assistance of Glasgow City Council’s legal team, threatened UNISON with legal proceedings late on Wednesday 16 July. After taking legal advice, UNISON withdrew the notice of strike action for Monday 21 July.

5. UNISON calls into question whether Glasgow Life, a Glasgow City Council run company, should use the anti-trade union laws in such a manner. Our members have a reasonable point and surely it is better to try and resolve the issue. The trade union movement’s long running campaign against these ant -worker, anti-trade union laws will go on.

6. UNISON Glasgow Branch is getting further legal advice, on the next steps in the dispute.

7. In the meantime, there will be trade union ‘pop up protests’ outside:

· Commonwealth Games House, Albion Street on Friday 18 July at 12.15pm;

· Kelvingrove Museum on Wednesday 23 July at 12:30 pm

· Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday 24 July at 12:30 pm.

UNISON members will attend these pop up protests in their own time e.g. during lunch breaks, when off shift, etc..