Council workers in East Dunbartonshire have voted in favour of industrial action after a dispute over shift patterns.
Plumbers, joiners and carpenters working for the property maintenance services division of the council will now strike as early as next month along with members of trade union Unite’s craft section.
From a turnout of 80% around 98% of union members voted to strike or take industrial action short of a strike that could take place in February.
Unite says the council imposed “detrimental” shift pattern changes after informing the workers they had been dismissed and re-engaged on new contracts.
The union’s regional industrial officer Kenny Jordan said: “Unite’s craft membership in property maintenance services have shown their strong opposition and disgust at the proposals by East Dunbartonshire Council to impose new contracts.
“If these changes go unchallenged then our skilled members who fix and maintain vital public services and social housing will be on significantly inferior terms and conditions.
“The overwhelming mandate we have received from our membership will hopefully knock some common sense into management.
“Unite’s ambition is to resolve this dispute amicably and through meaningful talks but if this offer is not taken up then our craft members will be on strike in the coming weeks.”
Pauline Halligan, the council’s executive officer for organisational transformation, said: “The council has consistently engaged with Unite throughout our ongoing service reviews, which are designed to safeguard as far as possible services and the workforce in the context of the challenging local government financial position.
“Unfortunately, no viable alternatives were provided by Unite before our statutory notices for the new working arrangements had to be issued in October 2019. The new arrangements started on January 6 with all employees working the new shift pattern.
“It is misleading of Unite to suggest that there are any other changes to terms and conditions. Our fundamental position is to secure a sustainable workforce to meet our service needs and those of our customers.
“We hope that Unite will take up our previous offer of further discussions on this matter.”
Story by local democracy reporter Neil McGrory