CARERS across West Dunbartonshire are set to walk out next week in a row over equal pay.

GMB Scotland confirmed staff working in home care services at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) will strike on Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11.

The trade union say that members ‘overwhelmingly’ supported industrial action following a grading review that reportedly failed to reflect their increased responsibilities.

This is said to have been the first review of West Dunbartonshire care workers’ roles in 16 years, however, WDC said this is not the case as reviews were carried out in 2007, 2008 and 2016.

The union added that it did not believe that the review recognised the skills and specialist experience of staff and failed to properly assess their new responsibilities of delivering complex care and support.

Kirsten Muat, GMB Scotland organiser at WDC, claimed the local authority had been given many opportunities to engage with carers to avoid strikes.

She said: “Our members work in care providing crucial frontline support to some of the most vulnerable people in their communities.

“They only want their work to be fairly evaluated and properly rewarded and have been asked to wait far too long for that to happen.

“WDC must understand the frustration of our members at being undervalued and underpaid for so long.

“They have taken on far more responsibilities, including supporting people with complex needs, administering medication, increased administration and recording and more liaison with other services like NHS Scotland and social work.

“Their work has changed dramatically in recent years and their pay must now reflect that.”

WDC say the claim home carers are administering medication is false.

Strikes involving GMB Scotland members who work in home care will also be taking place in two other local authorities - Falkirk and Renfrewshire– starting tomorrow (Friday, April 5) and continuing into next week.

Action will begin in Falkirk on Friday and then staff from all three councils will rally in Glasgow on Wednesday, April 10.

The union is warning that ongoing negotiations could lead to claims “totalling tens of millions of pounds” and risk “sinking local authorities” if the Scottish Government doesn’t intervene.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland secretary, said: “Scotland’s councils are approaching equal pay claims like the Titanic approaching the iceberg.

“Councillors have their heads in the sand and executives have their fingers in their ears but these equal pay claims will come, will be won and will need to be settled.”

As well as the three councils where industrial action is already underway GMB Scotland say they have ongoing equal pay campaigns in Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Angus, Fife, and Moray.

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are disappointed at the GMB’s decision to take industrial action.

“We are committed to fair pay for home carers and as a result of a thorough and robust job evaluation process the pay of a typical home carer has recently risen by at least £2500 per annum through regrading of their role.

“We are continuing to work with trade union representatives to try and avert this action but we expect disruption to our service provision during this time with officers concentrating limited resources on our most vulnerable users.”