Glasgow 2014: Commonwealth strikes talks held

Eilish McColgan pictured at Hampden ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty
Eilish McColgan pictured at Hampden ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty
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CRISIS talks are taking place today in a last-ditch attempt to stop culture and leisure staff in Glasgow striking two days before the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Workers at the arm’s-length organisation Glasgow Life, which runs the council’s leisure centres, museums and libraries, who are members of the Unison and Unite unions plan to walk out on Monday July 21.

Glasgow Life bosses are due to meet union leaders today in an attempt to avert strike action in a dispute over staff overtime pay and shift patterns during the Games.

But before the negotiations, fighting talk from each side continued.

Unison balloted 321 members and of the 93 who took part 67 voted in favour of industrial action while 75 of Unite’s 183 members took part and 38 voted to strike.

A Glasgow Life spokesman said: “The number of union members balloting for strike action represents just under 4 per cent of our workforce, less than one in 25 of our staff.

“Less than a third of the Unison members eligible to vote took part in the ballot.

“Unite saw less than half of eligible members vote in the ballot and it is disappointing that they are calling members out on strike on such a narrow margin -- one vote.

“We do not believe the results provide any reasonable justification to embark on strike action at any time, let alone in the build up to the biggest sport and cultural celebration the city has ever seen.”

He said “everything possible” would be done to keep disruption to a minimum.

Unison City of Glasgow Branch Secretary Brian Smith said Glasgow life has taken a “terrible approach”.

He said: “Unison ran a ballot of members over a 10-day period, which is tight timewise, and 40 per cent voted.

“That is higher than at the last council elections in Glasgow which was a 32 per cent turnout, therefore we have a stronger democratic mandate than many elected members.

“Unison and Unite members will strike on July 21.”

Unite regional industrial officer Willie McGonigle said the union would still be looking for its members to support industrial action.