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GMB warns anger over low pay isn’t going away

Monday, November 8, 2021

GMB warns anger over low pay isn’t going away as cleansing workers demand fresh strike ballot 

Following a workforce meeting in George Square earlier this afternoon (Monday 8 November), Glasgow City Council cleansing workers demanded a fresh strike ballot against their employer over low pay. 

It means a second wave of strikes could hit cleansing services in Scotland’s biggest city in the run-up to Christmas. Eight days of strike action conclude this evening at 23.59 hours. 

Calls from the workforce come after talks this weekend between GMB and Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken, which secured commitments from the council to: 

  • review the value of pay for all workers on the lowest grades (Grades 1,2 & 3 – an estimated 10,000 workers currently earning less than £20,000 a year) as part of the process to remove its discriminatory pay and grading system; and 
  • pursue investment for cleansing infrastructure and resources to tackle the city’s waste crisis, alongside a range of new employee development and well-being measures to address management mistreatment of staff. 

However, the council refused workers’ demands for a one-off “Glasgow Payment” for all workers on Grades 1, 2 and 3 as a means of addressing the cost-of-living crisis being faced now by many council workers in Scotland’s biggest city.

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “It’s taken a strike to get Glasgow’s leadership in the room and acknowledge the council’s chronic low pay problems, the waste crisis in our communities, and the toxic management culture in the cleansing department. 

“It is important to understand that strikes don’t happen by accident. They are a consequence of workers’ feeling undervalued, disrespected, and ignored for too long, and it’s clear that a few days of talks and the initial outcomes from this aren’t enough to remedy the impact of a decade of cuts. 

“Our members in cleansing, like so many of their colleagues in other services like home care, school support, parks and gardens, and Glasgow Life, are the backbone of the city’s workforce but they are struggling on wages that simply do not make ends meet. 

“It’s why our members have demanded a fresh ballot, which could mean a second wave of strikes in the run up to Christmas. They want more to be done to properly value key workers and to tackle the significant service and workforce challenges facing their city. 

“That’s something the council, COSLA and ultimately the Scottish Government should reflect on today because it’s very clear this anger isn’t going away until these problems are confronted.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Keir Greenaway on 07855 017842 or GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077.