Cop26: Glasgow bin strikes called off after new pay deal

About 1,500 staff had threatened to walk out during the summit

Tom Batchelor
Saturday 30 October 2021 00:01
<p>Glasgow, pictured, has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C</p>

Glasgow, pictured, has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C

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Strikes threatened by bin collection and street cleaner teams during the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow have been suspended following a new pay deal.

Around 1,500 Glasgow City Council staff working in refuse, cleaning, school janitorial and catering roles had been set to walk out over an ongoing pay dispute.

The timing would have been an embarrassment for the Scottish government with the eyes of the world on Glasgow for the major conference.

But the strike was called off after local authority umbrella body Cosla made a new pay offer to council trade unions on Friday, helped by £30m from the Scottish government to support the offer.

Cosla has proposed a one-year 5.89 per cent increase for the lowest paid council staff, as part of a £1,062 rise for all staff earning below £25,000.

In response, the GMB union called off strikes due to start on Monday for a two-week consultation with members.

The GMB was calling for a £2,000 pay rise and previously turned down an offer of an £850 a year increase for staff earning up to £25,000.

The union's Drew Duffy said: “We have received a new offer from Cosla that will be subject to a two-week consultation of our members from Monday 1 November, during which we have agreed to suspend strike action.

”While we are pleased that more money for key workers has been found at the 11th hour, the fact it's taken to the brink of the Cop to get this offer speaks volumes to our members.

“For months, Cosla said they couldn't pay, and Ministers said they wouldn't pay, while staff have been attacked by political leaders for standing up for their services and value.”

Gail Macgregor, Cosla's resources spokeswoman, said: “Council leaders have reached an agreement today on a new and significantly improved offer that will hopefully be fully acceptable to our workforce and get the money into their pockets as soon as possible.

”We are pleased that as a result of this improved offer our trade union colleagues have notified us this afternoon that they will suspend strike action.“

A Scottish government spokesman said: ”We welcome the news that the immediate prospect of strike action has been averted.

“Given that local authorities are the employers we were not party to negotiations but we supported the search for a solution with a one-off offer of additional funding of £30 million.

”We recognise and respect that union processes must now proceed but we hope that today's progress heralds a formal agreement.“

Additional reporting by PA

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