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Trade union backs care worker strikes in Scotland

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GMB Union has warned the Scottish government that it will organise for industrial action across the care sector, if it fails to ensure care workers are paid a fair wage.

Three years on from the Glasgow Equal Pay strike, GMB General Secretary Gary Smith backed care workers to organise for strikes in their fight for a £15 an hour social care minimum wage.

Addressing rallying social care staff outside the Scottish Parliament on Saturday (October 23), the GMB leader pledged the union would, “summon the spirit of the Glasgow Women’s Strike in the fight for fifteen”.

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Workers from across the social care sector also detailed their experiences and struggles of care delivery before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, making the case for substantial pay increases as the Scottish Government consultation over a National Care Service continues.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced earlier this month that care workers in Scotland will see their pay lifted to £10.02 an hour this winter, as part of a £300 package of measures to help increase NHS and social care capacity.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “Pay is the priority in tackling the growing understaffing crisis and lifting the unsustainable pressures not just in social care, but in our NHS too – that’s why we are ‘fighting for fifteen’.

“We know the prospect of wages just above £10 an hour won’t cut it, and if you want to retain and recruit the people we need then we must value this essential work properly.

“After the awful events of this pandemic and with a bleak winter ahead, the consequences of continuing to neglect these key workers should be crystal clear to everyone.

“But if government fails to recognise this then we will summon the spirit of the Glasgow Women’s Strike and start organising for industrial action across the care sector.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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