Blow to city

Bin workers’ strike back on after talks break down

Refuse workers in Glasgow (pic: Twitter)

A strike involving refuse workers was back on today after trade union officials accused Glasgow City Council of stirring bad faith in pay talks.

Negotiations broke down between the GMB and the council which will see the city’s cleansing service brought to a standstill for a week.

Industrial action appeared to have been averted last week after COSLA – the umbrella organisation representing local authorities – offered a national pay deal for council workers.

But GMB officials were angered after the council moved to block strike action in the Court of Session using what it called “anti-trade union legislation”, meaning “there is too much bad faith among members towards the employer.”

The union informed the council’s chief executive Anne Marie O’Donnell that members in the city’s cleansing service had decided to go ahead with the strike from midnight last night.

The move is an embarrassment to the city which is hosting 20,000 delegates attending the COP26 climate summit and is already facing accusations of being grubby.

GMB Scotland Secretary Louise Gilmour said:  “We met the council in good faith, offering a clear set of proposals to reset industrial relations and avoid strikes. The council rejected these proposals.  

“We specifically offered heads of terms to work together to tackle the chronic and unacceptable problems caused by years of cuts, to urgently address the employer’s unresolved discriminatory pay system and outstanding equal pay liabilities, and back this with a commitment from the council that they would not use anti-trade union laws against their workers again.  

“We also proposed the Scottish Government support this process, because if the fair work agenda is to have any credibility whatsoever, then Scotland’s biggest city should be the example of it rather than the opposite.  

“Regrettably, the council refused this massive opportunity to move forward and strike action across the cleansing service will now begin, during which time our members will be balloted on the COSLA pay offer.”  

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