Staff at Scottish charity Quarrier’s “What If?” projects in Ruchill
Street and Wyndford Road support some of the most vulnerable young
people in Glasgow – all have experienced homelessness, most have
suffered abuse while growing up and many have mental and physical
health issues. Quarrier’s workers in Maryhill – along with their
colleagues at other projects throughout Scotland – were shocked when
management threatened pay cuts of up to 23%. These cuts will force
many workers into poverty. Quarrier’s has told staff they need to sign
up to a new contract or be sacked and then hired back with worse
Workers are fighting back against these miserly cuts. Membership of
Unison, the union that represents Quarrier’s staff and other charity
workers, has grown – in-house membership has increased by 25% in the
last six months.
The union is organising meetings for Quarrier’s staff, advising staff
not to sign the new contract and arguing the case for decent wages
with politicians in the Scottish and UK parliaments. Meanwhile,
Quarrier’s Human Resources director continues to harass staff with
letters warning them to sign the new contract and accept wage
reductions of up to 19.5% from 1st October or be sacked and re-hired
with wages reduced by up to 23% and an increase in workers’
contributions to the pension scheme. Management have frequently
ignored attempts by Unison to get them to sit down and negotiate a
compromise with the mediation service, ACAS. The one time Quarrier’s
bothered to show up they refused to participate.
On 6th September, Unison members went out on strike for 24 hours.
Quarrier’s staff managed to maintain the quality of care to the
vulnerable people they support, while at the same time causing
disruption to Quarrier’s management. A rally held outside the Glasgow
City Council building at George Square was packed with Unison members
and supporters from Maryhill and throughout Glasgow.
Since the strike, Unison has stepped up its campaign with politicians
and remains determined to protect workers at Ruchill
Street and Wyndford Road. The “What If?” project is still desperately
needed in North West Glasgow, and the staff who work there should be
treated far better by their employer.