Scotland: Woman workers bring Glasgow to standstill over equal pay

Scotland’s largest city was brought to a standstill as women workers made history in Britain’s largest-ever strike over equal pay on October 24 and 25.

Care workers, cleaners and school dinner workers were among 8000 women council employees and contractors staging a two-day walkout in Glasgow.

They formed picket lines to demand back payments for being paid less than council workers in male-dominated departments.

Thousands of women members of Unison and GMB unions led a march from Glasgow Green to the City Chambers in George Square, chanting: “What do we want? Equal pay! When do we want it? Now!”

Council chiefs promised that women workers will be compensated for decades of underpayment after 10 years of litigation by workers. However, unions say they have “got nowhere” in subsequent negotiations and were left with no option but to strike.

Male dust workers and street cleaners refused to cross GMB picket lines outside their depots this morning, in spite of reported threats by bosses to call the police and dock their pay.

In George Square, Scottish Trade Union Congress president Lynn Henderson told the rally: “Equal pay is yours in the law, but until it’s yours in the bank and it’s yours in your pockets, you will stick together and strike.”

Unison education services shop steward Sylvia Haughey said: “We are the working women of Glasgow, and we say pay up now.”

[Abridged from Morning Star Online.]