Trade union claims victory over Dundee council in proposed split-shifts for carers row

Union chief Jim McFarlane

Trade union bosses in Dundee have vowed to have round the table talks in a bid to resolve issues over care workers’ shift patterns.

The move follows a fiery meeting in the city chambers on Monday where councillors were forced to back down over plans for new working practices for the city’s hundreds of social care workers.

Jim McFarlane, Unison branch secretary in Dundee, said the decision by members of the council’s policy and resources committee was a victory for the workers and the unions.

Mr McFarlane, who spoke on behalf of the social care workers at the meeting, said: “At Monday night’s meeting, councillors listened to the trade union deputations and the voices from the public galleries.

“They have now agreed to our request to get back round the table with the trade unions over changes to working patterns and terms and conditions.

“This is a victory for collective action and the good work across the trade unions involved.

“Management have now been tasked with coming forward with a revised report by the summer recess after full consultation with the trade unions.”

The policy and resources committee had proposed introducing a new shift system for social care workers, who are responsible for delivering care to some of the city’s most vulnerable people in their homes.

After two years of negotiations, the council proposed a new shift system which would see staff retained on a range of contracts.

Some would work 30 hours per week on split-shift contracts, while others would work a 25-hour per week with split-shifts or just 23 hours a week on a single shift.

The SNP administration was left in no doubt about the opposition to the plans, which saw care workers and trade unionists pack the public gallery and line up around the City Chambers.

Committee convener and council leader John Alexander argued the changes were necessary to cope with increasing demands but no other SNP member spoke in favour of the proposal.

Following a 10-minute recess, Mr Alexander proposed further consultation between the council, trade unions and service users with a report to be presented to councillors before the summer recess.