CARERS across West Dunbartonshire are set to walk out for a second month in a dispute over pay.

GMB Scotland confirmed staff working in home care services at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) will strike on May 10, 13, and 14.

It comes after industrial action took place last month.

The trade union say workers are “united in their determination to win fair pay”.

Kirsten Muat, GMB Scotland organiser at WDC, said that she believes that the local authority is refusing to engage with the concerns of staff and avoid strike action.

She added: “Care workers support some of the most vulnerable people in the communities of West Dunbartonshire.

“They want to be doing that not taking industrial action but the council’s failure to meaningfully discuss never mind address their concerns means they have been given no choice.

“All they are asking is for their work to be fairly assessed and rewarded after years of being undervalued and underpaid.”

In April, we reported that GMB Scotland said members had ‘overwhelmingly’ supported strike action following a grading review that reportedly failed to reflect their increased responsibilities.

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

This was said to have been the first review of West Dunbartonshire care workers’ roles in 16 years.  

However, WDC said this was not the case as reviews were carried out in 2007, 2008, and 2016.

Now, GMB Scotland is warning that ongoing negotiations “could lead to claims totalling tens of millions of pounds” and “risk sinking local authorities” without the intervention of the Scottish Government.

It also claims that a higher pay grade could be applied retrospectively.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland, 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.”

West Dunbartonshire is one of three Scottish councils where home care staff are currently involved in industrial action over pay.

In addition to these three local authorities GMB Scotland says they have ongoing equal pay campaigns in Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Angus, and Fife.

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are committed to fair pay for home carers and following 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 the role.

“We continue to work with trade union representatives and while we expect disruption to our service during this industrial action, we are doing all we can to minimise this for our vulnerable service users.”