Public Services, Firefighters, Prisons Services, Women & Gender Equality, Economic Policy, U.K.
(July 2017) Seventeen health sector unions have come together to condemn the government's decision to impose the 1% pay gap for another year. Meanwhile, the firefighters' union has rejected a pay offer of 2% this year and 3% in 2018, saying that it fails to take account of the increasing workloads facing firefighters and workers at the Bank of England could go on strike for the first time in over 50 years unless the employer comes up with a better pay offer by the end of the month.
On 20 August the UK government was forced to take back control of a privatised prison in Birmingham in central England following a damning report by the prisons inspectorate. The prison had been run since 2011 by the G4S group, one of three multinationals that run 14 prisons in England.
The POA prison staff union's call for action by its members on 14 September was widely supported across the country. The union decided on the action following the latest revelations of violence against staff at Bedford prison in south east England which received an "urgent notification" from the Chief Inspector of Prisons who warned of the potential for a complete breakdown in order at the institution. The notification requires a response from the government. The POA has been demanding national action to reduce overcrowding and tackle violence and says that government imposed cuts are behind
Over 8000 workers employed by Glasgow City Council in Scotland took strike action on 23-24 October to put pressure on their employer to deliver equal pay. The dispute dates back as far as 2006 when a new pay scheme was supposed to end to pay inequality based on gender. Instead, its implementation introduced new discriminatory measures. The action involved women in a wide range of jobs, including school administration workers, learning support workers in schools, nursery workers, home carers, cleaners and catering workers.
The solidly supported two-day strike by around 8000 local government workers in Glasgow was successful in getting the council back to the negotiating table. The strike was over the council's failure to deal with longstanding demands for equal pay for a wide range of low-paid women workers in care, catering, cleaning, school support and other services. The strike on 23-24 October was called by the GMB and UNISON trade unions and UNISON now reports that initial talks with the council have been positive and constructive. EPSU, PSI and many affiliates sent messages of support.
The UNISON, GMB and Unite trade unions have welcomed an agreement in principle to end the long-running equal pay dispute at Glasgow Council in Scotland. Over 8000 council workers took strike action last October to put pressure on the municipality to end the pay discrimination faced by many women workers in jobs such as cleaning, care and catering. The agreement finalises the principals and structure of any payout to thousands of women but the detail of individual payments still has to be calculated and agreed.
A new report from the PCS civil service union reveals considerable pay inequality across government linked to the proportion of men/women in each department. For example, a civil service executive officer, in a majority male department is paid £3771 (EUR 4415) (13%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department while a civil service administrative officer, in a majority male department is paid £2675 (EUR 3130) (12.6%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department. The union attributes the problem to the delegation of pay negotiations to departmental level and