Care home staff vote to strike as FM urges owners to avert action
Humza Yousaf has hailed Scotland’s care workers as he urges the owner of residential homes to avert looming strike action.
The First Minister has written to Minster Care Group to call on executives to negotiate with care workers preparing to strike at a home in his Glasgow constituency.
He is urging the firm to resolve the dispute at the Cardonald Care Home as GMB Scotland announces 98% of members who took part in an official ballot voted to strike there and at two other homes run by the same company.
Other politicians from across the city have also called on executives to open talks to reassure residents and protect the wages of care workers.
The Cardonald home is one of three in Glasgow run by Minster Care where strike action looms after the firm, who recently took over the homes, was accused of attempting to slash the wages of staff and derecognise the trade union.
The strikes would be the first at Scottish care homes and come after care workers overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer at Ballieston, Cardonald and Stobhill Care Homes.
Yousaf, who is SNP MSP for Glasgow Pollok, has written to Mahesh Patel, chief executive of Minster, and paid tribute to staff at the homes while urging action to resolve the dispute.
He wrote: “Social care workers provide a vital service. Their work providing personal care and social support to residents is essential to the running of care homes that are rooted in compassion.”
The SNP MSP, who took credit for averting threatened NHS strikes when health secretary, also voiced concern about the threat to derecognise the GMB.
He wrote: “My own relationship with trade unions has been positive and constructive.
“Even where there have been disagreements, my approach has been to always continue constructive dialogue to try and find a solution.
“I hope you can offer reassurances that this will be your approach going forward.”
The homes, where 150 residents are cared for by around 200 staff, were previously run by the Four Seasons group before being take over by Silverline and are now administered by Minster Care Group.
The workers’ pay and conditions should have been protected during the transfer of ownership under TUPE legislation.
However, Kirsty Nimmo, GMB Scotland organiser, said the new management is attempting to drive down pay and conditions, slashing overtime pay, for example, and reneging on previous pay offers.
She said the support for strikes, when more than 100 staff were balloted with the majority backing action, exposes the anger of staff and their refusal to accept an assault on their pay and conditions.
She said: “Care workers are desperately worried for the residents they care for but also for their own families as the new owners refuse to protect their wages and conditions.
“The staff deserve clarity and reassurance but instead have been plunged into uncertainty and chaos. It cannot and must not go on.
“They appreciate Humza Yousaf’s appreciation of the jobs they do and only wish the company would show the same respect for their crucial work.
“It is time for this company to reassure staff, avert these strikes and end what has been a hugely worrying time for the workers and the residents.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org