Thousands of women council workers across Glasgow plan to bring the city to a standstill this week in what is believed to be the biggest equal pay strike seen in the UK.
More than 8,000 workers, mostly women who have never been on a picket line, will take part in the two-day action that starts next Tuesday and will affect homecare, schools and nurseries, cleaning and catering services across the city.
While Glasgow city council insists there is no justification for the planned disruption, which it says will jeopardise the care of its most vulnerable residents, unions say that a failure of negotiations has left the women with no choice but to strike and make visible the decades-long pay discrimination that has affected this largely unseen workforce.
The dispute stems from 2006, when a new job evaluation scheme was introduced by the then Labour-run council, with the aim of addressing gender pay inequality. Instead, say the women affected, it entrenched discrimination by paying female-dominated jobs such as catering and cleaning less than male-dominated jobs such as refuse collection, despite them being deemed of equal value, because of a complex system that penalised people working split-shifts and irregular hours.