Glasgow facing 'public health crisis' with bin workers due to strike during COP26

27 October 2021, 15:56

Glasgow is facing a public health crisis ahead of COP26
Glasgow is facing a public health crisis ahead of COP26. Picture: LBC/Alamy
Guy Stewart

By Guy Stewart

It is claimed Glasgow is facing a "public health crisis" with bin workers to strike during COP26.

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Tens of thousands of delegates are travelling to the UK this week ahead of the UN climate summit.

It officially starts on Sunday with world leaders like US President Joe Biden to speak next week.

But strike action from November 1 means they could arrive to dirty streets and overflowing bins.

Read more: The Queen will not attend COP26 climate summit in Glasgow after advice to rest

Read more: Global plans to avert climate change not enough to avoid 'endless suffering' - UN

All of Glasgow's refuse and cleansing workers are set to down tools in a long-running dispute over pay.

The GMB union - as well as Unison and Unite who represent other workforces taking action - want a £2000-a-year rise for staff.

They rejected an offer from COSLA - The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities - for an £850 rise for lowest paid staff and 2 per cent for those on less than £40,000.

Chris Mitchell from the GMB claims budget cuts mean they face disgusting conditions and haven't had a pay increase during the pandemic.

He said: "The morale in the workplace is at an all time low because of horrendous cuts.

"If you make cuts, of course, you're going to have problems. It is a cleansing crisis, and it's becoming a public health crisis.

"There is a massive infestation of rats. The worst I've ever seen it, and I've worked here for thirty years.

Read more: COP26: What could be decided at the key climate summit?

Read more: COP26 risks becoming Covid 'super spreader event,' Scotland's health secretary admits

"We've asked for 100 extra road sweepers, 100 extra refuse collectors and an end to the three weekly-bin collection.

"I think they (world leaders) would be shocked to see some streets. They'd get to see the true reflection of cuts that've blighted Glasgow.

"This is a message to COSLA - do the right thing and pay cleansing workers a decent pay rise.

"We want better conditions. We want a better work life balance that suits everybody. We want a fairer pay to every worker that deserved us."

Glasgow faces public health crisis ahead of COP26

A COSLA spokesperson said: "We appreciate everything that local government workers have been doing, and continue to do, to support people and communities during the pandemic and as we begin to recover.

"We continue with ongoing constructive negotiations."

Read more: What is COP26 and why does it matter? A complete guide to the key climate summit

Read more: COP26: Businesses face uncertainty as streets locked down ahead of summit

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: "These are national, rather than local, pay negotiations.

"The union has not made clear what action it intends to take so it’s impossible to say what the impact will be.

"However COP will undoubtedly be a busy and difficult time for the city and its residents. Holding this action only in Glasgow at this time will have disproportionate and unfair local impact in pursuit of a national campaign. We urge them to think again about the timing of this."

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