COP26: rail and dustbin strikes in Glasgow set to seriously disrupt summit

GLASGOW is bracing for serious disruption at the COP26 world climate summit after railway workers and shelter collectors both voted in favor of the strike.

ScotRail workers will strike Nov. 1-12 amid a dispute over wages and terms.

Meanwhile, garbage workers have also threatened to strike during the conference unless council body Cosla offers them better pay.

COP26 will take place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 and will see tens of thousands of world leaders, activists, activists and protesters descend into the city.

Scottish Labor transport spokesman Neil Bibby has warned that COP26 “is falling into sheer chaos”, while the Tories called it a “major inconvenience”.

Large-scale transport disruptions were already predicted at the conference, with the city’s main roads closed to traffic.

Some of the traffic disruptions during COP26

READ MORE: Union boss warns “all services” disrupted and “no ScotRail trains are running” during COP26 strikes

Members of the RMT of the Caledonian Sleeper service, run by Serco, will also be on strike from October 31 to November 2 and November 11 to 13.

Sunday train services in Scotland have been paralyzed for months as workers protest against wages and conditions.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper had enough time to come up with a fair wage settlement for Scottish railway workers ahead of Cop26.

“Instead, they kicked the box on the road and left us no choice but to put this action into place today.

“We know these strikes will shut down rail services in Scotland, but the blame lies with Abellio, Serco and the political leaders of Holyrood.

“It’s time for all parties to take their railroaders seriously, to come back to the table and give those front-line staff in our green transportation services the justice, respect and reward they deserve. ”

The union had earlier announced the result of a poll in which 84% of the more than 2,000 members supported more strikes following the ScotRail dispute.

HeraldScotland: COP26 is at the SEC from October 31 to November 12COP26 is at the SEC from October 31 to November 12

READ MORE: Road closures and traffic warnings in Glasgow at COP26 confirmed ahead of climate summit

Responding to the announcement of industrial action, a ScotRail spokesperson said: “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has chosen to continue this very damaging strike action, especially when a wage offer, negotiated on several weeks, unions.

“We are seeing customers gradually returning to the Scottish Railway, but the scale of the financial situation ScotRail is facing is dire.

“To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on taxpayers, we need to change.

“All of us in the railroad: management, staff, unions, suppliers and government, must work together to modernize the railroad so that it is ready for the future. ”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “We welcome the constructive talks that have taken place between all parties.

“An important offer has been made by employers since the opening of this RMT ballot and we understand that the RMT will again vote its members on the merits of this offer.

“We hope that RMT members and other unions will agree and accept this offer, thus putting an end to existing and proposed labor disputes and actions.

‘The railway workers have played their part in moving the country forward during the pandemic and we are sure they will see the importance of the moment and the role they can play in showing the best Scottish railways have to offer as we welcome world leaders from everywhere. the world at COP26.

Premier Nicola Sturgeon said last week that she hoped the dispute could be resolved before Cop26.

She said: “I would strongly encourage both sides to this dispute to come back to the table and find a resolution that is in the best interests of those who work on our railways.”

Mr Bibby said it was “an embarrassment to Scotland that the SNP cannot even run the trains while the eyes of the world are on us”.

He said: “This conference is supposed to be aimed at preventing an environmental catastrophe – and the SNP is preparing the ground by letting trains stop and litter fill the streets.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “This is a major embarrassment for the SNP. Ministers should have settled this dispute months ago. The SNP’s inaction has resulted in misery for passengers who have had to undergo major service disruptions this year.

“The eyes of the world should be on Glasgow in a few weeks. World leaders and delegates arriving in the city to deal with the climate emergency will be greeted by rail services that are at a standstill ”.

Meanwhile, garbage collectors and GMB union members in Glasgow also voted in favor of industrial action at the summit.

A total of 96.9% of those polled voted for a strike to take place if there is not an improved offer of the Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) Convention.

Herald Scotland:

Last month 95% of those polled in a GMB Scotland poll rejected Cosla’s £ 850 per year increase for staff earning up to £ 25,000 per year.

Members in Glasgow are now poised to go on strike when the city hosts world leaders for the climate change summit if the pay dispute is not resolved.

Chris Mitchell of GMB called on the Scottish government and Cosla to take more action.

Addressing the members of the Bridgeton and Queenslie depots in Glasgow gathered behind him, he said: “We have a clear message for the Scottish Government and Cosla.

“We were called heroes of Covid and essential workers.

“That’s when the low-wage workers take a stand against Cosla and say enough is enough, because these heroes here deserve a raise.

“Be with us, not against us. ”

In a Twitter post, a spokesperson for GMB Glasgow said: “In Glasgow we have reached the legal threshold for our industrial action ballot.

“Unless there is an improved offer on Monday, we will take action in Glasgow during COP 26.”

Commenting on GMB’s refusal for workers to vote strike action at COP26, Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said: ‘This crushing tenure must be a wake-up call for Cosla and the Scottish government to start taking these negotiations over. seriously.

“Scotland is about to be humiliated on the world stage because of the SNP’s utter disregard for working people.

“Everything from garbage collection to public transport will be plunged into chaos during Cop26 if they don’t stand up for workers who are fighting for fair wages and conditions.”

The call for trade union action comes after Glasgow City Council chief Susan Aitken was criticized for saying the city needed a “makeover” ahead of the COP26 conference.

Her comments received a backlash from politicians and members of the public who claimed she was “out of touch” with the city.

Mr Sawar added: “Glasgow’s garbage collectors have gone out of their way to try to bring the city’s growing waste crisis under control, and in return they are treated with contempt by the SNP administration of Susan Aitken.

“The SNP must intervene to get these workers the agreement they deserve and resolve the myriad labor disputes that threaten to overshadow the Cop26.

A Scottish government spokesperson said salary settlements for council employees (excluding teachers) were up to Cosla and were determined through negotiations in the Scottish Joint Committee (SJC), adding: ” The Scottish Government is not a member of the SJC and the Council. remuneration is therefore not a matter in which it can intervene.

“It will be up to union colleagues to reach a negotiated agreement with Cosla. ”

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