‘Keep Glasgow’s older residents safe’ say UNISON members as strike action goes ahead to defend standards and wages

Date: Friday 14 February 2014

UNISON members across Glasgow are embarking on further strike action after discussions with the City Council this week failed to reach a settlement.

Members are on strike from 8 am today, Friday 14th until Monday 17th at 8am.

Members have been in dispute since January and this the third strike action taken by the city’s care workers in response to the council’s decision to enforce new job roles, longer shift patterns and pay cuts of up to seven per cent.

UNISON Scotland, the union representing care workers, said its members were left with no other option in the face of new 12 hour shift patterns that UNISON believes are unsafe for staff and residents alike.

A striking UNISON member has written to us saying;

“It’s hard as a care worker to see a major safeguarding problem looming and feeling helpless to avoid it.

“On return to work after the 12 hr shift working pattern was forced on staff I was working in the specialised dementia unit.

“The new shift meant I was starting at 8 pm not 10 pm when some residents would have been prepared to retire to bed shortly, or already in bed.

“I was working at a ratio of 1:10 on my own. One staff member cannot tend to the most basic needs, or safeguard ten residents in a specialised dementia unit from 8 pm when quite rightly adults are up and about”

Our members will also be leafleting, in an appropriate fashion, visitors to the homes tomorrow afternoon highlighting the nightshift staffing levels

Brian Smith, UNISON Branch Secretary says

‘UNISON members have been humbled by the support that they have received from residents and relatives during the dispute. Those closest to the service understand the job residential workers do. The inadequate staffing levels on the new 12 hour nightshift is a real concern for residents, their loved ones and the workers. The council must increase the staffing at night across the city. UNISON questions whether the Care Inspectorate fully understands what has been happening in Glasgow’s homes since these changes were made at the end of January.’

Notes to editors

PHOTO / INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY You are invited to send a photographer, reporter and/or crew to 84 Bell Street,Glasgow on Sunday at 11am where striking care workers will be meeting. Families of care home residents have come out in support of care staff and are available for media interviews. For further information, or to arrange an interview, contact Brian Smith on 07870 914 361.

Glasgow City Council plans to cut wages of residential home care workers by up to 7 per cent through the introduction of longer shift patterns. The move would affect 182 workers, out of a workforce of just over 500, with 122 full time workers on salaries of £20,000-£28,000 facing a loss of £1495 per year, while 60 part timers face a loss of £794 per year. The Council is also refusing to maintain the wages of any worker who has been in a temporary higher graded post for less than four years. UNISON views this four year criteria as unacceptably long.

Glasgow City Council wants to alter the job roles of the lowest paid workers to include the administration of medicines. This is not in their pay grade. UNISON is calling for properly identified roles and responsibilities of staff, recognition of the risks associated with any new roles staff are being asked to undertake, fair recompense for the new tasks they are being asked to do, all underpinned by proper training and support.

The strike will take place over three full days starting on Friday 14th 8 am and ending on Monday 17th Feb at 8am.