GMB members at Cardonald, Ballieston and Stobhill Care Homes began two days of strikes on Tuesday, with ‘respectful’ picket lines forming outside each of the homes, with the union saying staff “strove to minimise disruption to residents”.

Minster Care Group is accused of having failed to protect pay and conditions, and also of of trying to derecognise the trade union.

Kirsty Nimmo, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Staff at these homes do not want to be standing outside fighting to protect their pay and conditions.

“They want to be inside caring for the residents like they do every day of their working lives but the actions of the homes’ owners have forced them into this unprecedented industrial action.

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“We tried to resolve this dispute again and again but the company has never been serious about engaging with their staff and clearly had no intention of making a serious offer to avert this strike.

“Our hearts are with the residents and their families but our members must also think about their own families.

“All they are asking for is fairness. All they want is to be treated with decency and respect.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf had previously written to Minster chief executive Mahesh Patel arging a resolution.

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He wrote: “Social care workers provide a vital service. Their work providing personal care and social support to residents is essential to the running of care homes that are rooted in compassion.

“My own relationship with trade unions has been positive and constructive.

“Even where there have been disagreements, my approach has been to always continue constructive dialogue to try and find a solution.

“I hope you can offer reassurances that this will be your approach going forward.”

Minster Care Group is a subsidiary of Silverline.

They said in a statement: “Silverline had met with the GMB with a view to agreeing terms that were realistic within the context of the homes’ trading position, but the discussions ended in stalemate.

“Staff received a pay rise in line with the terms of the National Care Contracts and local market rates and the company was still open to having discussions with a view to reaching a sensible solution.

“Measures will be put in place to ensure the continuation of quality care at each of the three homes.”

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