Unite fury over tactics

Charity led by Scottish grandees in strike-busting row

Sir Angus Grossart

Sir Angus Grossart: on board of Glasgow Life (photo by Terry Murden)

Trade Union Unite is accusing a council-backed charity, whose board includes the financiers Sir Angus Grossart and Benny Higgins, as well as the head of a human rights body, of using strike-busting tactics.

Unite Scotland says managers of Glasgow Life, an arms length charitable organisation controlled by the city council, has brought in outside labour to do the work of staff striking over the withdrawal of pay allowances at the Emirates Arena.

Unite began an overtime ban on 25 November. Since then Glasgow Life managers have employed outside contractors to set up events and undertake de-rigging work.

Strikes have taken place on the 23, 27 and 28 December. A further day of strike action will take place today (Friday).

The union says Glasgow Life managers are continuing to employ sub-contractors from a company called Stagehire to complete work schedules affected by the strikes.

Unite has also lodged further grievances with Glasgow Life concerning union members being asked by its managers if they are a member of Unite and intending to take strike action. It says this is a breach of current industrial relations laws.

Glasgow Life is the operating name of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG) and Culture and Sport (Trading) CIC. Apart from Sir Angus and Mr Higgins, the board’s list of blue chip directors includes Amanda McMillan, outgoing CEO of Glasgow Airport, Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University and Professor Lesley Sawers, who heads up the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, as well as the former athlete Lee McConnell.

The former leader of the council and now leader of the Labour Group in the city, Councillor Frank McAveety, said: “The allegations that the union are making are extremely serious.

“I’ll be demanding that the board of Glasgow Life, which is chaired by the SNP’s councillor David McDonald, conduct an inquiry. The best solution would be for Glasgow Life to get round the table and resolve these matters instead of provoking industrial relations strife.”

Eddie Cassidy who is the convenor of Unite at Glasgow City Council says: “The independent directors of Glasgow Life is like a roll call of the great and the good in the city.

“So do Sir Angus Grossart, Lee McConnell, Professor Anton Muscatelli, Professor Lesley Sawers and Amanda McMillan OBE know what is being done in their name?”

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