Staff at women’s charity vote to strike after bullying row


Staff that a union claimed had been suspended by a women’s charity after a bullying row have voted in favour of strike action. 

More than a dozen employees at Glasgow East Women’s Aid were sent home on 14 September after they raised “concerns about bullying in the workplace”, according to the union Unite.

The charity denied the employees had been suspended, saying they had been sent home “to protect staff and service users”.

The row led to Unite opening a two-week ballot among members on industrial action on 30 October, which the union said this week had resulted in a 100 per cent yes vote.

The charity’s most recent accounts show it had an average of 17 employees in the year to the end of March.

When asked how many members it has at the charity, Unite said “more than a dozen”, but did not give a precise figure. 

The union also said it had lodged employment tribunal claims on behalf of five of its members dismissed by the organisation during the ballot period.

Unite claims the dismissals were unfair because they related to trade union activities and were a “drive to undermine the union following support given to the members suspended amid allegations of bullying”.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: “Unite will not tolerate any of our members at Glasgow East Women’s Aid being targeted and dismissed due to raising legitimate concerns about their workplace. 

“These dismissals shockingly took place during an industrial action ballot, and there is no doubt this move was designed to undermine the ballot process.

“Unite has launched unfair dismissal claims on behalf of our five members. Be in no doubt we will be holding the organisation’s management to account for its disgraceful behaviour and potentially illegal attitude to its staff.”

GEWA’s main office in Easterhouse has been closed since the mass suspension and a post by the charity on X, formerly Twitter, tells service users to access help from Scotland’s Domestic Abuse & Forced Marriages Helpline.

Linda Wilson, industrial officer at Unite, said: “Events at Glasgow East Women’s Aid have turned from bad to worse. 

“We believe our members have been targeted for attempting to raise legitimate concerns about the service, and for exercising their rights by involving their union in this dispute.

“We will now consider our next steps following our members’ emphatic support for strike action.

“The organisation’s funders, including Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government, should be immediately stepping in, because it is public money which allows the centre to run. 

“As funders, they should be demanding answers and holding this rogue employer to account.”

Nobody from GEWA responded to a request for comment from Third Sector. 

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