Striking Parking Staff Warn Rising Abuse Linked To Disrepair Of Roads
Parking staff fighting for fair pay in Glasgow launched strike action today as an elite cycling event arrives in the city.
GMB Scotland members in the City Council’s parking services started two days of planned strikes as the UCI Cycling World Championships begins.
The action by GMB members and other unions risks parked cars blocking the routes of road races while events at the city’s velodrome will also be affected.
The workers are taking action after council staff overwhelmingly rejected a 5.5% pay offer from COSLA, representing Scotland’s 32 local authorities.
Striking council workers rallied in Glasgow city centre when John Buntain, GMB Scotland senior representative in parking services, said the decision to strike was not taken lightly but had been forced on workers because of the ongoing cost of living crisis.
“Now with mortgage rates rising, people are at risk losing their homes,” he said. “It’s vastly important that we get this pay rise.”
As the world’s best cyclists gathered in the city, GMB general secretary Gary Smith questioned the city council’s priorities.
He told them: “It is simply not good enough for Glasgow City Council to be talking about sporting festivals and welcoming the world while ordinary people in this city are struggling to pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads and children are going to school hungry.
“Taking strike action isn’t easy but it is fantastic to see working people standing together on picket lines to say that they are not going to pay for this cost-of-living crisis.
“That crisis has been made by the Tories but we cannot let the SNP and Greens off the hook. We have a Tory government down south that is actually offering the lowest paid council workers more than the Scottish Governments is prepared to pay.
“So, this is about calling out the Tory government, it is about being prepared to stand together and fighting for a pay rise and it should be about sending a message to the Scottish Government that workers here are demanding a better and fair deal.
“All frontline workers who worked so hard during the pandemic, who were celebrated during the pandemic, deserve an inflation proof pay rise and we stand with every one of them.”
The strikes come after a pay from COSLA was rejected by GMB members, but the union claims parking staff had already been pushed to breaking point and describe a parking enforcement service that is understaffed and overstretched.
Morale is low, workers warn, and the poor condition of the city’s roads is piling pressure on staff.
Staff describe having to endure anger and abuse from drivers who have unwittingly parked illegally because signs and road markings are in disrepair.
Sean Baillie, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Drivers and pedestrians in Glasgow deserve to know why roads can be repaired for a cycle race but not for the people using them every day of the year.
“It is our members who suffer the consequences of that and must endure the anger of drivers frustrated by dilapidated roads and faded markings.
“The willingness of our members to strike is absolutely no surprise. They have tried and tried again to encourage the city council to deliver fair pay and protect Glasgow’s infrastructure but been ignored.
“The pay offer to council staff is lower than last year despite the cost of living rising and is below that offered to local authorities in England and Wales.
“Our members want their work to be fairly valued but they want their city to be valued too.”
The strikes by Glasgow parking staff today and tomorrow come days after GMB members working in schools and early years education across ten of Scotland’s local authorities voted to take strike action in the new term in support of a fair offer on pay.
The strike ballot was called after an offer of 5.5% from COSLA, representing Scotland’s local authorities, was overwhelmingly rejected by GMB members.
Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser in public services, said: “Whether it is our members voting to strike in schools or those in parking taking action today, council workers are sick of being overworked and undervalued.”
“It is time for political leaders to show some leadership.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on firstname.lastname@example.org
“Now with mortgage rates rising, people are at risk losing their homes, it’s vastly important that we get this pay rise.” Watch John Buntain, GMB Scotland senior rep in GCC Parking Services speaking at today's demontration.