Glasgow bin workers to strike during Cop26 climate summit
GMB union calls week-long strike from 1 November with rail staff also planning industrial action
Bin workers in Glasgow have confirmed that they will strike during the Cop26 climate conference, amid growing anxieties that the city’s summit arrangements are falling into chaos with threats of industrial action across services and transport.
Glasgow city council urged the workers to reconsider causing disruption during a “busy and difficult time”, as the GMB union confirmed a week-long strike from 1 November, the first full day of the UN conference.
With refuse, cleansing, school caretaker and catering roles affected, the local government body Cosla said it would “continue with constructive negotiations”. But transport unions have pledged similar walkouts, adding to the risk of global embarrassment as the world’s attention is focused on Glasgow in less than two weeks’ time.
The RMT confirmed last week that members who work for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper will stage industrial action for the duration of Cop26, which is expected to attract thousands of visitors to Glasgow, as the result of a pay dispute that has caused disruption to Sunday services for months.
ScotRail engineers are also planning a series of 24-hour stoppages after Unite said workers had been left with no choice by the Abellio ScotRail management’s failure to make what it called a meaningful pay offer.
This month, Aslef, the RMT, the TSSA and Unite issued a joint statement saying that investment in Scotland’s railways, valuing staff, expanding services – rather than cutting trains as ScotRail has planned – and making rail travel more affordable were essential to meeting environmental targets.
Transport Scotland says it is hoping for constructive talks between all parties before the start of the summit.
Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson, Neil Bibby, described the disputes as “an embarrassment to Scotland”.
“This conference is supposed to be about preventing environmental catastrophe – and the SNP are setting the stage by letting trains grind to a halt and litter fill the street,” he said. “Rail workers were on the frontline right through the pandemic and the way they have been treated in return is disgraceful. The SNP must intervene to deliver a fair pay deal before their contempt for workers brings Cop26 to its knees.”