Five members dismissed amid staff suspensions and allegations of bullying
A leading trade union has announced that its Glasgow East Women’s Aid membership have emphatically supported strike action with a 100 per cent yes vote.
In a major new development in the dispute, the union can further reveal that it has launched legal action on behalf of five members dismissed by the organisation during the ballot period.
Unite has launched the legal claims on behalf of the five workers dismissed on the basis that they had under two years’ service.
Glasgow East Women’s Aid are not required to demonstrate “fair” reasons for the dismissals due to this time qualification.
Unite is claiming their dismissals are unfair on the basis that it is specifically linked to their trade union activities, and an apparent drive to undermine the union following support given to the members suspended amid allegations of bullying.
Unite represents more than a dozen workers at the Easterhouse-based service where 13 Unite members have been suspended.
Sharon Graham, Unite the Union general secretary, said: “Unite will not tolerate any of our members at Glasgow East Women’s Aid being targeted and dismissed due to raising legitimate concerns about their workplace.
“These dismissals shockingly took place during an industrial action ballot, and there is no doubt this move was designed to undermine the ballot process.
“Unite has launched unfair dismissal claims on behalf of our five members. Be in no doubt we will be holding the organisation’s management to account for its disgraceful behaviour and potentially illegal attitude to its staff.”
The 13 Unite members who were suspended prior to the dismissals are all highly-trained women and children’s support workers who provide critical and lifesaving services for women and children experiencing domestic abuse in greater Easterhouse - one of Scotland’s most economically deprived communities.
The organisation’s main office in Easterhouse has been closed for eight weeks following the mass suspension of staff.
Vulnerable service users are currently being directed to an emergency phone number as women and children who were receiving 1-2-1 support have been left with no support and no explanation.
Unite is demanding that Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government urgently intervene as funders of Glasgow East Women’s Aid on behalf of the service users, and the staff currently suspended.
Unite industrial officer, Linda Wilson, added: “Events at Glasgow East Women’s Aid have turned from bad to worse.
“We believe our members have been targeted for attempting to raise legitimate concerns about the service, and for exercising their rights by involving their union in this dispute.
“We will now consider our next steps following our members’ emphatic support for strike action.
“The organisation’s funders including Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government should be immediately stepping in because it is public money which allows the centre to run. As funders they should be demanding answers and holding this rogue employer to account.”
GEWA was approached for comment.