Workers gathered outside a women's aid charity in the East End on Friday for the first day of strike action amid a bullying row.

Unite members from Glasgow East Women's Aid (GEWA) will strike for a total of 21 days from December 1 to February 16, 2024.

We previously reported that 13 support workers were 'suspended' in October after 'whistleblowing' to funder Glasgow City Council with claims of 'bullying' by senior management.

Glasgow Times:

Speaking at the picket line on Friday afternoon, Unite industrial officer Linda Wilson said that all of the staff members wanted to return to work.

She said: "We're out on strike today because 13 women raised an issue of bullying and the board decided to suspend the women and subsequently dismiss five workers who had less than two years of service.

"All we want is to get back to work, to get our five colleagues reinstated, and to get back to providing the lifeline services that are crucial to Easterhouse."

Glasgow Times:

On November 28, the board of GEWA sacked five staff members during the ballot period for strike action prompting legal action by the union.

Unite revealed on Thursday that they had won a legal victory in partnership with Allan McDougall's Solicitors, securing "interim relief" on behalf of the dismissed workers.

An employment tribunal judged that the five dismissed workers had a “pretty good chance” of succeeding in their cases that they were automatically and unfairly dismissed due to being trade union members and for using trade union services.

The judgment in favour of Unite and the five workers means that the workers will continue to be paid by Glasgow East Women’s Aid and receive all contractual benefits up until the date that a full tribunal has fully determined this case. 

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite has secured an important first step in delivering justice for our five members who were callously dismissed.

“Unite will never tolerate any of our members being targeted and victimised simply for being members of Unite and using the services of their union in defence of their jobs, pay and conditions.

"The workers at Glasgow East Women’s Aid have Unite’s full and complete support.”

Glasgow Times:

Linda said: "The reception has been great.

"We have women here who are members of the community and have come out to show support.

"They think it's disgraceful that the board is allowing this to happen.

Linda says the union has reached out on a number of occasions to set up "productive discussions" with the board but has not received a response.

She added: "We want everyone to know that we don't want to be standing here.

"We never did. We've been out for 11 weeks and there is no service being provided from this centre.

"That's affecting women and children in this area."

Glasgow East Women's Aid has been contacted for comment.

Glasgow Times:

Alice Bowman of Allan McDougall Solicitors, the solicitor acting for the claimants said: “Clearly the claimants and Unite are delighted with this initial assessment of the tribunal.  

"This case is set in the wider context of industrial tension, industrial action, and decision of the board to suspend the service at Glasgow East Women’s Aid, leaving vulnerable women and children without much needed support and advocacy when fleeing domestic abuse.

"We hope that the claimants’ success in this interim relief application will encourage discussions between parties to get the Unite members back to work, and the service back up and running.

“As this matter is still to be heard in full by the tribunal and witness evidence is yet to be heard and tested, it would not be appropriate to provide further comment at this time.”

Since October, six board members have resigned.