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Complacent SNP must intervene now to end Glasgow bin strikes

The Scottish Conservatives are calling on the SNP Government to stop passing the buck and intervene once and for all to end the strike by council refuse collectors in Glasgow during COP26.

Despite assurances last Friday that the dispute between the GMB union, COSLA and SNP-led Glasgow City Council had been resolved, it was announced yesterday that the strike action was back on – just as delegates from around the world arrived in the city.

This morning on Good Morning Scotland Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, “encouraged” the union, council and COSLA to find a resolution.

With the well-documented problems of overflowing bins and rats continuing to blight Glasgow – and set to get worse with strike action - the Scottish Conservatives insist this is an inadequate response from the SNP Government.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Miles Briggs MSP, said: “The SNP Government must intervene now to resolve this dispute once and for all.

“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.

“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.

“This strike is the legacy of years of SNP Government cuts to local authorities.

“They ought to have stepped in weeks ago to prevent this situation arising. It beggars belief that with COP26 underway and no resolution in sight, Michael Matheson is merely “encouraging” the parties to get back round the table. His complacency is breath-taking.

“Nicola Sturgeon must act now to bring this dispute to an end for the good of Glasgow residents and before any more damage is done to the city’s reputation.”


Transcript of interview with Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, on Good Morning Scotland, Monday November 1:

Laura Maxwell: Just finally before we let you go and greet other delegates at the conference, the GMB's decision to allow this strike action to go ahead in Glasgow during the duration of the summit, what do you make of it?

Michael Matheson: Well, it is disappointing, although the Scottish Government's not party to what is a national negotiation between local authorities and COSLA. My understanding was last Friday that the three unions Unite, Unison and GMB agreed to withdrawal their industrial action in order to consider the offer that had been made by COSLA which was assisted by additional funding from the Scottish Government. The GMB locally have entered into a dispute now with Glasgow City Council, which I understand is not to do with the actual package itself but it's the process around being able to engage with their members and discuss that with them.

LM: Can government pressure be brought to bear on Glasgow City Council and the union?

MM: Well, I understand the discussions were taking place last night and I certainly 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 and to try and find a quick resolution to what is I believe is a process issue rather than an issue around a deal that was proposed back on Friday itself.