‘This dispute is far from over’: Unions in call for care worker strike action

© DC ThomsonJim McFarlane of Unison.
Jim McFarlane of Unison.

Trade union leaders are recommending strike action to care workers amid worries over split shift patterns.

Jim McFarlane of Unison said workers remained angry at proposals on the table and were still unclear about the details of the plans.

Unison and the GMB have given formal notice to Dundee City Council regarding preparations to hold a statutory ballot of members over what action to take.

Mr McFarlane said: “We understand that as a result of this notice, the council has written to members regarding the home care proposals.

“These letters give no assurances on the raft of proposals other than the split shifts issue.

“This dispute is far from over.

“Ballot papers will be dispatched from Monday, and it is absolutely vital that members fill them in. We are urging members to vote for industrial action and to return these ballot papers as quickly as possible.

“We need a big turnout to ensure that members retain the balance of power, and have the opportunity to take action if we do not receive cast iron guarantees around our list of demands.

“Dundee City Council has given us a date of March 27 for a meeting – this does not suggest that there is any urgency on their part which means we continue with the ballot and the dispute.”

Helen Meldrum of the GMB, which represents hundreds of city council careworkers added: “We have yet to see any details.”

A Dundee Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The health and social care partnership wrote to home care staff this week informing them that they will not be asked to move to a splitshift system unless they choose to do so. This message was reinforced at a meeting with the trade unions earlier this week.

“A meeting has been arranged with our trade union colleagues to discuss how we work with them on the vision for integrated health and social care moving forward.”