One third of Glasgow schools and nurseries affected by janitor strike

Almost one third of schools and nurseries in Glasgow have been affected by janitor strikes over alleged unfair pay this week.

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Almost one third of schools and nurseries in Glasgow have been affected by janitor strikes over alleged unfair pay this week. 

The janitors have been targeting their protests at Labour councillors during the five-day strike at the City Chambers as part of their continuous dispute with Cordia. 

Cordia, a branch of Glasgow City Council, is refusing to pay a Working Context and Demands Payment (WCDP) to school and nursery janitors. 

However, Unison, which some janitors are members of, argues its staff are owed this money. 

A Unison Glasgow spokesman said: Janitors have to do arduous tasks such as lifting heavy objects or cleaning up sick and we believe they deserve a fair wage for this. 

Strike action began on January 19 with janitors refusing to do tasks including heavy lifting, litter picking and weeding.

The janitors have taken 24 days of industrial action since March 2016.

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Photo: Unison

A janitor at the strike on Wednesday said: “I think me and the other janitors across Glasgow have just reached the point where enough is enough.

We’ve been slowly heading towards an official strike since January by boycotting certain tasks such as cleaning up leaves and snow — and it has peaked now.”

A headteacher from a Glasgow primary school said: “One of our windows has been broken for almost a week now and there is no one to fix it — there are also a lot of general maintenance tasks to be done in the school.

“In saying that, we believe our janitor deserves a better wage so the school supports the industrial action this week.” 

The council and its sub companies give bonus payments to employees who do jobs that are unpleasant, involve heavy lifting or working outside. 

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Photo: Unison

There are five types of WCD payments ranging from just over £500 to more than £1000. 

A spokeswoman from the council said schools and nurseries would operate with “minimal disruption” this week. 

She added: “There are about 65 janitors on strike – so just under a third of Glasgow’s 300 schools and nurseries have been affected.

New ‘festival of ideas’ to coincide with SNP Conference and draft Independence Referendum Bill

A radical new festival celebrating “the most important issues facing Scotland” is underway at the SECC to coincide with tomorrow’s SNP Conference.

A radical new festival celebrating “the most important issues facing Scotland” is underway at the SECC to coincide with tomorrow’s SNP Conference.

More than 40 organisations have been taking part in the “festival of new ideas” which is run by Common Weal.

The aim of IdeaSpace is to “let members of the SNP and the public learn and be inspired” by fresh ideas outside the current political agenda.

Organisations showcased at tomorrow’s free event include Upstart Scotland, Unison, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Energy Democracy Project and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities.

The event has generated high levels of engagement on Twitter.

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Common Weal operations manager, Tiffany Kane, said: “The organisers of the event and those who have attended aren’t just imagining a better future. They’re making it happen.”

Maggie Lennon from Women for Independence, said: “If we’re heading towards another referendum — and I sincerely hope we are — the challenge will be how to engage with different people because not everyone who voted for Brexit is a right wing extremist, and some Brexit voters have been attending IdeaSpace.”

Max Wiszniewski, campaigns officer of Common Weal, said the original plan was to have a stall at this year’s SNP Conference but the SNP had raised the price considerably since last year’s annual conference in Aberdeen.

This led to IdeaSpace which was funded by “financial contributions and partner organisations.”

He said: “Over the last three days I’ve met so many people who want to take part in a constructive movement following the independence referendum and Brexit, and this is why the festival has been so important.”

The festival ends tomorrow at 2pm, with the line-up including talks on the attainment gap (9am), the SNP leaders (11.30am), Christian values in Scotland (12.45pm) and the Prevent strategy (2pm).

Ideaspace coincides with Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement at the SNP Conference that a draft Independence Referendum Bill will be published next week.

 

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Tomorrow’s IdeaSpace schedule. Photo: The Common Weal.