AS Primary schools and nurseries across Glasgow stayed closed on the second day of the massive 8,000-strong 48-hour equal pay strike yesterday, the SNP-run council’s solicitor sent a letter to the GMB threatening legal action under the Tory anti-union laws.
The SNP council leaders made the threat after 600 binmen at depots across Glasgow refused to cross women workers’ picket lines. In a legal letter sent to GMB lawyers, the council accused the union of ‘unlawful industrial action’ on the first day of the strike.
It said cleansing, roads and park workers ‘refused to leave their places of employment to carry out their full range of duties’ and were sent home and told they wouldn’t be paid. The letter added: ‘That this pattern was repeated across each of these depots shows that this was orchestrated and planned industrial action. ‘It is not industrial action that is protected by the ballot under which others of the GMB’s members are striking today and tomorrow.’
It claimed there had been ‘unlawful picketing’ at depots and cited the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992. Council solicitor Carole Forrest wrote: ‘I formally call upon your client to confirm whether or not it intends to repudiate this action under section 21 of TULR(C)A 1992.
‘If no repudiation is forthcoming, we reserve the right to raise proceedings against the GMB for the losses which we have sustained as a result of this unlawful action and any repetition of it tomorrow. ‘I also urge your client to instruct those of its members employed in cleansing, roads and parks operations to end any further participation in industrial action of this sort.’
GMB Scotland organiser, Rhea Wolfson responded: ‘We won’t be bullied by Glasgow City Council officials using Tory anti-trade union laws to threaten our union.
‘We will consider the council’s letter and respond in due course.
‘Many members, including parking attendants and refuse and cleansing workers, as a matter of individual conscience, are choosing to support the striking women of Glasgow by refusing to cross picket lines and demonstrations.’
The strike action against years of pay discrimination by Glasgow City Council saw thousands of staff walk out in the biggest ever UK strike over equal pay. GMB Scotland Organiser Rhea Wolfson said: ‘The voice of Glasgow’s working women will be heard around the world … Our members are determined and strong, buoyed in particular by the support shown to them by service users and their families who understand the value of these women and their work.’