School cleaners urge ‘pay up for key workers’ in George Square rally

Hundreds of cleaners and janitorial staff voted 95% in favour of strike action.

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Secondary school cleaners and janitors are calling on Glasgow City Council to support them in their fight for pay parity with directly employed local government workers.

The workers, who held a rally at the city’s George Square on Friday, are urging PFI contractor Amey to “pay up for key workers” as strike threat looms.

Union members are asking management at the firm, which generated group revenues of over £2.1bn last year, to match the value of the recent offer made to staff who work under the umbrella of Cosla.

Hundreds of cleaners and janitorial staff who serve Glasgow’s 30 local authority secondary schools previously voted by over 95% in favour of strike action.

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Three separate 24 hours strikes are now scheduled to take place next week from 12.01am to 23.59pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

GMB Scotland organiser John Slaven said: “All school support staff should be valued the same for the vital work they do, so the message is clear: ‘Pay up for key workers.’

“The fact Amey claims to put an ‘incredibly high value’ on the efforts of staff while keeping them mired in low pay is simply not credible they can more than match our members’ demands.

“What we want from Glasgow City Council is an effort to ensure Amey to do the right thing, and a commitment that the council will stand with staff in this fight and not against them.

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“We must make work better for our key workers, and if we are serious about a fair work agenda, then we’ll end two-tier pay and conditions across schools in Glasgow.”

An Amey spokesperson, said, “Amey is extremely disappointed by the vote outcome. We put a high value on the work carried out by our Glasgow school employees and a significantly increased offer was made through the GMB at the end of November. This is in line with the COSLA offer made to Council workers and is above the Real Living Wage.

“We will continue to work with the GMB and our employees to try reach a resolution. We also have contingency plans in place to minimise the impact in the event of industrial action, and to ensure teaching and learning across the region is not affected.

“Amey is committed to our employees and the local communities we serve. Our latest offer came on top of a pay increase last year for our employees in Glasgow schools and we have also enhanced employee benefits. These include raising annual leave entitlement by four days, increasing sick pay benefits, offering enhanced life assurance and providing staff with an annual personal day away from work.”