Lawyers at Thompsons will vote on strike action against partners
07 April 2017
Lawyers at a firm which specialises in acting for trade unions are to vote on whether to go on strike.
Over 50 employees of Scottish firm Thompsons Solicitors including cleaners, support staff, paralegals and solicitors will be balloted on strike action today over what they regard as an insulting 1.5% pay rise. A source told RollOnFriday that partners "aren't practising what they preach
" and "staff are at the end of their collective tether after years of frankly insulting pay rises
They are being represented by GMB Scotland, which has been in talks with the firm's partners to persuade them to give staff a rise of 3.2%, in line with the Retail Price Index. But on Monday the union confirmed that talks had broken down and the partnership had refused to return to conciliation services at ACAS. So now solicitors will vote from Friday on whether to hit the picket lines, with demos already having taken place outside the firm's Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.
Until recently the GMB represented only Thompsons support staff, but last year partners agreed union recognition could be extended to all staff including lawyers. In a bitter irony, Thompsons used to count the GMB as its fourth biggest client until the union axed the firm from its panel in 2014
. Apparently the GMB suggested that it enter into an ABS with Thompsons in order to share the profits of litigation conducted on behalf of its members. Thompsons was understandably keen for the original arrangement to continue, whereby it pocketed the profit itself and paid a referral fee to the union. Its short-sightedness cost it a client and now appears to have bought it a dedicated foe. And if the partners' grasp of employment law is as shaky as it appeared in Holyrood recently,
expect gala concerts in support of the staff's struggle.
GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard said, “When you consider that Thompsons make great play of its radical trade union roots, you would think the least its workers would receive is a pay increase that meets the cost of living
". Thompsons did not respond to a request for comment.