SCOTLAND'S First Minister has written to the owners of a trio of crisis-hit Glasgow care homes in a bid to avert looming strike action.

Around 200 carers at Baillieston Care Home, Cardonald Care Home and Stobhill Care Home have overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer by new owners Silverline Care amid claims they have slashed overtime rates.

Now Humza Yousaf has stepped into the row and called on executives to get around the table to try and halt the walkouts, which would be the first at care homes anywhere Scotland.

The politician's intervention comes as GMB Scotland revealed on Tuesday morning that 98 per cent of members who took part in an official ballot earlier this month across the three facilities have voted to strike amid allegations the firm is also attempting to derecognise the staff's trade union.

The homes, where 150 residents are cared for, were previously run by the Four Seasons group before being take over by Silverline Care earlier this year. It has subsequently passed their day-to-day operation on to the Minster Care Group.

Mr Yousaf has written to Mahesh Patel, chief executive of Minster, while also paying tribute to the dedication of staff in the face of the continuing threat to their livelihoods.

His letter says: “Social care workers provide a vital service. Their work providing personal care and social support to residents is essential to the running of care homes that are rooted in compassion.”

The SNP Glasgow Pollok MSP, who took credit for averting threatened NHS strikes when health secretary, also voiced concern about the alleged move to derecognise the GMB.

He wrote: “My own relationship with trade unions has been positive and constructive.

“Even where there have been disagreements, my approach has been to always continue constructive dialogue to try and find a solution.

“I hope the firm can offer reassurances that this will be its approach going forward.”

Glasgow Times: The care homes are facing strike actionThe care homes are facing strike action (Image: Gordon Terris)

Union bosses say workers’ pay and conditions should have been protected during the transfer of ownership under TUPE legislation but GMB Scotland organiser Kirsty Nimmon claims that new management have instead tried to drive down pay and conditions, as well as reneging on a previous pay deal.

READ MORE: Issues at Glasgow care homes in Baillieston and Cardonald

She says the overwhelming support for strikes shows the anger that now exists among staff.

She said: “These people are desperately worried for the residents they care for, but also for their own families and their careers.

“The staff deserve clarity and reassurance but instead have been plunged into continuing uncertainty and chaos. It cannot and must not go on.

“They appreciate Humza Yousaf’s obvious appreciation of the job they do and only wish the company would show the same respect for their crucial efforts.

“It is time for this company to reassure staff, avert these strikes and bring to an end what has been a hugely worrying time for the workers and the residents.”

A spokesperson for Silverline said a new management team was put in place in June and at that time there had been an unresolved negotiation with GMB over pay rates.

They also say contingency plans will be actioned should strikes proceed at any of the three homes.

They added: "Silverline had met with the GMB with a view to agreeing terms that were realistic within the context of the homes' trading position, but the discussions ended in stalemate.

"Staff received a pay rise in line with the terms of the National Care Contracts and local market rates and the company was still open to having discussions with a view to reaching a sensible solution.

"In the event of industrial action, measures will be put in place to ensure the continuation of quality care at each of the three homes."