By Bill Heaney
The electorate in West Dunbartonshire stood firmly behind the workers who took part in this week’s three day strike for better pay and conditions.
There was plenty of horn hooting and thumbs up for those who took their courage in their hands and walked away from the chores for which are so poorly paid but highly thought of for going the extra mile by the parents and pupils in West Dunbartonshire’s schools.
However, the people who think they matter most – the hubristic councillors and officials – failed to show up on the picket lines.
That was to be expected of the SNP members who will have wanted to be seen as backing the Scottish Government.
But one would have expected more – much more – from the members of the new Labour administration in West Dunbartonshire Council.
They can put the kettle on for a backlash from the voters at the next Westminster election when Labour’s Provost Douglas McAllister will be challenging the sitting member, the SNP’s Martin Docherty-Hughes, for a seat on the green benches in the House of Commons.
In all of the pictures published in these pages today, there is just one councillor to be seen, Jim Bollan, right, of the Community Party, who turned out for the pickets at Vale of Leven Academy.
If there are others then I don’t recognise them and probably neither do you. You’ll see them at election time though.
Are they frightened of losing their payments and perks? If not then why the silence?
As West Dunbartonshire Council doesn’t know, silence is not the best form of communicating with the press and public.
COSLA, whose lady spokesperson and negotiator is an SNP councillor – no scope for bias there then? – has been lying during these protracted negotiations.
They claim the SNP government has no money and can’t afford to pay these workers what the parents and pupils think they are unquestionably worth.
They’ve turned Scotland into a banana republic. We’re skint.
The truth of the matter is that they cannot afford not to stump up. That for them it’s time to fess up and cough up. To bin the lies and obfuscation.
West Dunbartonshire is a working class area where the policies and the pay of workers should reflect the fact that people care for each other.
This brotherhood and sisterhood has been plain for all to see this week.
Councillors who are not around when they are needed most don’t deserve the support of the ordinary folk who live here, and that’s most of us.
So the message to the SNP is clear. Extract the digit.
COSLA should not be “demanding” a settlement to this dispute. Or making threats about “final offers”.
Who do they think they are?
A wee bit of humility, common sense and compassion wouldn’t go far wrong in these negotiations.
That would result in the strikers getting back to work and the hard done by weans getting back to school.