COP26: Glasgow bin strikes begin as world leaders arrive for climate summit

Bin collection and street cleaner strikes will go ahead today as Glasgow hosts world leaders, amid a row between a union and Glasgow City Council.

COP26: Glasgow bin strikes begin as world leaders arrive for climate summit. (Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP)
COP26: Glasgow bin strikes begin as world leaders arrive for climate summit. (Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP)

The GMB union told the Glasgow City Council chief executive, Annemarie O’Donnell, that members of the city’s cleansing service will strike for a week from a minute past midnight on Monday.

More than 100 world leaders are expected to arrive in Glasgow today as the first day of the two-day world leaders’ summit takes place at the Cop26 UN climate conference.

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The planned strike action was previously called off on Friday after a new pay offer from council umbrella body Cosla.

COP26: City refuse workers set to go on strike during climate change summit,

Then, the GMB said it would suspend the strike for two weeks to consult with members.

On Sunday, GMB Scotland secretary, Louise Gilmour, accused Glasgow City Council of having “failed to give our members the proper time and space to consider the 11th hour offer from Cosla”.

She said there is “too much bad faith among members” towards the council.

She added: “Therefore, our members in cleansing have informed us that they will still proceed with the planned strike action from 00.01 hours Monday November 1.

“We are calling for an urgent meeting with the council as soon as possible and we will work until one-minute to midnight tonight to try and fix this.

“We have also made the Scottish Government aware of the situation and are liaising with the First Minister’s Office but, without any further dialogue, the cleansing service in Glasgow City Council will take strike action from Monday and throughout the first full week of the COP26 summit.”

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The GMB was calling for a £2,000 pay rise and previously turned down an offer of an £850 a year increase for staff earning up to £25,000.

The Cosla proposal tabled on Friday is for a one-year, 5.89 per cent increase for the lowest paid council staff, as part of a £1,062 rise for all staff earning below £25,000.

The Scottish Government gave £30 million to support the offer.

A spokesman for Glasgow council said: “The agreement struck at national level gave two weeks to consider the pay offer and so there is no reason for this strike to go ahead at this time.

“It is very disappointing the GMB has opted for this course of action, which now seems to be about allocating time for meetings rather than a pay agreement.

“We will meet with the GMB at any time to try and resolve what now appears to be a local dispute.”

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Councillor Gail Macgregor, Cosla resources spokesperson, said: “On putting our new and improved offer to our trade union colleagues on Friday – we were pleased to note that it was accepted with the expectation that strike action be suspended whilst they presented the new offer to their membership for consideration.

“GMB in particular made a public statement that they were suspending strike action for a period of two weeks as of Friday whilst the ballot of their members was conducted nationally across all 32 Councils that this affects.

“We very much hope that this remains the case and that all members are given the opportunity to participate whilst essential services are maintained.”

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