Community service strikers take further action



By Karrie Gillett

WORKERS at Scotland’s biggest council who have been on strike for five weeks have taken their protest to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.

Community service supervisors at Glasgow City Council travelled to Edinburgh as part of their on-going dispute over pay and hours.

The employees – who look after people carrying out non-custodial sentences in the community – handed a letter of protest over to justice secretary Kenny MacAskill.

The 21 workers started the industrial action on January 6 after talks broke down between the union Unison and the council over a re-grading of their posts.

And the strike action means some offenders have not been carrying out unpaid work such as gardening or painting and decorating.

Donald McNaughton, Unison member and community services supervisor at the council, insisted the entire department wanted to get back to work but were being put in a difficult position.

Mr McNaughton, who has worked for the council for eight years, said: “The council have increased our working week from four days to five days and got rid of our time-and-a-half pay for extra hours.

“It’s unacceptable and we all feel the same. The entire workforce is united on this.

“We feel that Glasgow City Council needs to get their act together and start valuing our jobs and our position.”

The action has put pressure under the community service scheme in the city with offenders who take part in group work having their hours suspended.

Mr McNaughton said: “We work with sex offenders, drug dealers and thieves. We take them out and do painting and decorating, gardening and environmental work.

“At the minute this work is being put on hold and stacking up.

“We are desperate to get back to work and continue this vital service but only when the council gets back round the table and gives us a deal we can agree to.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council insisted that community service work was still being operated for those offenders who undertake personal placements.

The spokesman said: “We are deeply disappointed that they have decided to go on strike given the level of skills required to do their job.

“We believe we have made an appropriate offer to the staff involved.

“Community service orders are meant to be concluded within a year therefore we are certain the strike will not pose any significant issues in the long term.”