Council workers balloted for strike action during Cycling Championships

GMB Scotland warned industrial action could see city-wide disruption during the global event.

Cycling Championships: GMB ballot council workers for strike action during major cycling event in Glasgow Getty Images

Public sector workers in Glasgow are being balloted for strike action during the World Cycling Championships, GMB Scotland has announced.

The union warned strikes could see disruption across the city this summer after pay talks with council leaders broke down.

Chiefs say the offer from the council amounted to a pay increase of around 5.5%, which was rejected by around 94% of some 20,000 members.

The Championships are set to draw thousands of cycling competitors and spectators across multiple events to Glasgow between August 3 and 13.

Parking attendants, workers at car parks and car pounds and around 50 public sector workers at the Velodrome are being asked to vote for strike action.

Chiefs said the walkouts could see “cars block the streets” for road races and Velodrome events unable to go ahead.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, Keir Greenaway said the strikes are “inevitable” without an improved pay offer and would “highlight the importance” of local government workforce if they were to go ahead.

He said: “Our members on the frontline of our local, public services are being offered a pay cut during the cost of living crisis whilst council leaders want to parade around during the World Cycling Championships.

“If councillors want to bring a first-class event to the city, they can’t give our members a second class pay offer. They need to get on their bike and ask Scottish ministers for support to deliver a pay offer that values frontline council workers.”

The move comes after GMB Scotland began balloting 8,000 of its local government members working in schools and early years settings for strike action on June 12 – including cleaning, catering, janitorial, pupil support assistants and early years practitioners.

He added: “COSLA have made little attempt to continue negotiations and council leaders are refusing to ask for Scottish Government intervention.

“These negotiations are going nowhere and are forcing council workers to face soaring inflation without the pay increase they deserve.

Events at the Velodrome could face disruption during the World Cycling ChampionshipsGetty Images

“GMB Scotland has been clear: our members need an improved offer which can only be achieved through the intervention of Scottish Government.

“Otherwise strike action is inevitable and any disruption to this global event will only further highlight the importance of the local government workforce.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Local government pay negotiations are conducted nationally,  through Cosla, not by individual councils.

“However, the council’s political leadership has made it clear, as it did last year, that Glasgow supports a settlement that works for both our staff and for public services.”

Meanwhile Unite warned key summer events could be disrupted if Scotland’s First Minister failed to intervene in the growing pay dispute.

Last month chiefs demanded Humza Yousaf facilitate negotiations between COSLA and public sector workers.

The union wanted additional funds to be allocated to improve the current 5% pay offer for 2023/24 – however councillors voted against approaching ministers during a Scottish Joint Council meeting in May.

Unite confirmed it was considering balloting members over potential strike action, including the World Cycling Championship in Glasgow in August.

Members overwhelmingly rejected the 5% offer for 2023 by 84% in a consultative ballot in May.

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