Jannies victory in Glasgow – more members, more pay and back in-house

Bill Petrie

Local Government Conference welcomed Bill Petrie, one of the Glasgow Jannies who took on their employer, Cordia (an arms length company in Glasgow) and after a hard fought 20 month dispute, won a great victory.

On Sunday, delegates applauded their campaign, Justice4Jannies, and in turn Bill thanked UNISON for its support.

Bill gave the background to the dispute, which began with a legitimate claim for a Working Context and Demands (WDC) payment for school janitorial staff, which takes account of the working environment and the nature of the tasks.

“We embarked on group grievance and recruitment drive and dramatically increased our recruitment as a result,” said Bill.

However, the grievance went against them so they moved to a work to rule which, said Bill, Cordia did everything to undermine, bringing in agency staff and non-unionised staff.
Cordia then tried to introduce a cluster model of janitorial service delivery which would have ended full time janitorial support in all schools.

“At this time we escalated the action to strike action with demos, pickets, leaflets etc. We also made the most of social media and the term “Justice4Jannies” was created.”

Bill told of how they got the support of the STUC, attending Congress in Dundee. They also had the support of the SNP, Greens and the lone Tory councillor.

“Over this time we continued to leave door for negotiation with the council. We also got the support of parents’ groups, and even had the children on our demos,” said Bill.

The dispute ended after the local elections, when the SNP took control of Glasgow City Council. Negotiations with that administration agreed a settlement including, one janitor, one school; the creation of additional posts; the WDC payment which with the 1% pay rise equated to £1200 per person. A senior janitor role was created, and other terms and conditions improvements were agreed.

“Now we have more members and more stewards.

“And I’m delighted to add that from 30 Sept Cordia will no longer exist as the service will be brought back in-house.”

Bill thanked UNISON for their moral and financial support which “was invaluable”. He paid tribute to UNISON staff and activists in Glasgow City and UNISON Scotland and to all his members who had held so firm.

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