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Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘deeply damaging’ Glasgow’s image over Cop 26 refuse collectors strike

Nicola Sturgeon is accused of ‘deeply damaging’ Glasgow’s global image after the city’s refuse collectors go on strike hours before start of Cop 26 environmental summit of world leaders in the city

  • Refuse collectors announced last night they would walk out in council pay row
  • Scotland’s second city welcomes leaders including US president Biden today
  • But it already is blighted by fly-tipping and rodent infestations 


Nicola Sturgeon was blasted today as world leaders arrived in Glasgow for Cop 26 to be greeted by a strike by the city’s refuse collectors.

Bin men and women in the GMB union announced last night that they would walk out in a row with the council’s SNP administration, despite previously calling off the action on Friday.

Scotland’s second city welcomes 120 leaders including US president Joe Biden for the political stage of the UN summit at a time it is already blighted by rubbish, fly-tipping and reports of large rats in the streets.

But Ms Sturgeon today made little mention of the problems as she toured the media on the margins of the conference, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain world leaders had to ‘step up and increase their scale of ambition’ if the event was to be a success’. 

The Scottish Tories’ shadow cabinet secretary for local government, Miles Briggs, said Ms Sturgeon ‘ought to have stepped in weeks ago to prevent this situation arising’.

‘As well as the public-health implications of overflowing bins and rats, the sight of rubbish piling up on Glasgow’s streets is deeply damaging to Glasgow’s image as the eyes of the world fall on the city.’ he said.

Ms Sturgeon today made little mention of the problems as she toured the media on the margins of Cop 26, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain world leaders had to ‘step up and increase their scale of ambition’ if the event was to be a success’.

The First Minister had time to meet climate activist Greta Thunberg in Glasgow this morning

The First Minister had time to meet climate activist Greta Thunberg in Glasgow this morning

Refuse collectors walked out at midnight in a row with the council's SNP administration, despite previously calling off the action on Friday.

Refuse collectors walked out at midnight in a row with the council’s SNP administration, despite previously calling off the action on Friday.

Scotland's second city welcomes 120 leaders including US president Joe Biden for the political stage of the UN summit at a time it is already blighted by rubbish, fly-tipping and reports of large rats in the streets.

Scotland’s second city welcomes 120 leaders including US president Joe Biden for the political stage of the UN summit at a time it is already blighted by rubbish, fly-tipping and reports of large rats in the streets.

‘It’s frankly embarrassing for Glasgow residents that, with delegates having arrived and COP26 underway, this dispute has still not been resolved by the SNP-run council or Scottish Government.’ 

GMB members walked out at one minute past midnight this morning following the collapse of last-ditch talks between the union and Glasgow City Council on Sunday evening. 

The planned strike action was previously called off on Friday after a new pay offer from council umbrella body Cosla, and the GMB said it would suspend the strike for two weeks to consult with members.

However, following talks on Sunday, the GMB said strike action would go ahead.

The union said workers will take strike action throughout the first full week of the Cop26 summit. 

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.’

She added: ‘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.’

However, Scotland’s Transport and Net Zero Secretary, Michael Matheson, only described the strike as ‘disappointing’ this morning, telling the BBC Good Morning Scotland programme: ‘I understand that discussions were taking place last night and the Scottish Government would certainly want to continue to encourage both Cosla, Glasgow City Council and the GMB to continue to discuss this issue to try and find a quick resolution to what I believe is a process issue rather than issue around the deal that was proposed.’

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman accused the union of having ‘reneged’ on an agreement made last week.

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