‘Rat buffet’ open in Glasgow this weekend, as cleansing workers strike

“The rat buffet” is open for business, Glasgow’s cleansing workers have warned, as the problem with vermin is expected to worsen during industrial action.

Thousands more waste and recycling workers are set to start strike action today (Friday), as crisis talks take place this afternoon between union, government, and council leaders over the Scottish local government pay offer.

GMB members in sixteen council areas, including Glasgow, will take an initial four days of action from Friday, August 26 until Monday, August 29, coinciding with existing action in the City of Edinburgh Council.

And the number of rats spotted in Glasgow is expected to increase during the action as they will be able to access food more easily according to Glasgow GMB convenor Chris Mitchell.

Expect to see more rats this weekend.Expect to see more rats this weekend.
Expect to see more rats this weekend.

Mr Mitchell said: “The rat problem will only get worse over the weekend with the constant strikes. There will certainly be an increase in the number of rats in the city.

“If we don’t pick up the waste then there are more resources for food. Some of these bins will not be emptied for three weeks because of the three weekly bin collection so by the time the cycle comes round you are talking about four weeks before the bin gets emptied.

“The thing about Glasgow is the back courts are already littered with rats so it will get worse. This is a serious health concern. In Edinburgh people are supporting us; they just want the mess cleaned up.

“It’s an eyesore and the rats are everywhere. This is the type of stuff we have to do everyday. Just imagine if we weren’t here. The problem will just get worse. The rat buffet is very much open.”

Four more days of strikes in waste and recycling services also run from Wednesday September, 7 to Saturday, September 10 alongside three days of strike action on September 6, 7 and 8 involving GMB schools and early years services members in Glasgow City and East Renfrewshire councils.

Representatives of the joint trade unions in local government met shortly with the Deputy First Minister and COSLA leadership, and will again urge the need for a pay offer to combat the spiralling cost-of-living crisis.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services Keir Greenaway warned: “Aspirational proposals from political leaders won’t suspend these strikes and they won’t put a penny more in workers pockets to confront this rapidly deteriorating cost-of-living crisis.

“GMB members are clear that they are not prepared to accept working poverty as an inevitability and their strike actions are a direct response to the failure of political leaders to realise this.

“Tomorrow this crisis will reach new depths when disastrous rises are announced for the autumn energy price cap – our members who are among the lowest paid key workers need better value to help them confront this.

“This is the first time that government and COSLA leaders will be in the room together with unions, and it is a chance for them to give a clear commitment that when council leaders next meet, they will finally table an offer that’s worthy of our members’ consultation.”

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