UK News ScotRail workers confirm they WILL strike during COP26
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is set to grind to a halt during Cop26 as ScotRail workers confirmed they will strike amid a dispute over pay and conditions, with binmen also threatening to walk out during the climate summit.
There are fears the city will be paralysed by transport chaos and could turn into a 'huge rubbish dump' when it welcomes leaders from around the world during the first two weeks of November.
Members of the RMT union said workers will strike from November 1 to 12 after Scotrail 'failed to get serious' in talks.
Thousands of delegates from across the globe, including world leaders such as US president Joe Biden, will be in Scotland for the historic event.
ScotRail strike dates: When the COP26 train walkout will start and how travel in Glasgow will be disrupted
The RMT union has confirmed a strike will go ahead in the first two weeks of November after it refused a pay offer from ScotRail on Friday. There will be a strike from midnight on Monday 1 November 2021 until 11.59pm on Friday 12 November 2021. The RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch said the train company “failed to get serious”. He said: “There was a golden opportunity for ScotRail to make serious progress in talks today, but instead they offered nothing of any consequence and as a result our action throughout COP26 goes ahead as planned.
In an announcement made on Friday Mr Lynch said: 'There was a golden opportunity for Scotrail to make serious progress in talks today but instead they offered nothing of any consequence and as a result our action throughout Cop26 goes ahead as planned.'
'There is still time to avoid the chaos of a transport shutdown during Cop26 if the key players get back with some serious proposals.'
He said the union remains open to pay rise discussions with ScotRail, but 'the ball is firmly in their court'.
Earlier, Mr Lynch said he had written to the First Minister 'calling on her to intervene as a matter of urgency to bring about a fair resolution' to the dispute, and accused rail bosses of having 'dragged their heels over further talks' with just weeks until the summit.
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In his letter to Nicola Sturgeon, he said: 'It is completely within the Scottish Government's powers to resolve these disputes before Cop26 commences - it needs to stop stonewalling these key workers and give them the justice, respect and reward they deserve.'
It comes after Scotland's railways have seen months of industrial action, with most Sunday services cancelled.
Earlier this week the TSSA union, which represents managers in the conductor and revenue teams at Scotland's train operator, said it would no longer take part in industrial action after accepting an improved pay offer.
Meanwhile around 1,500 refuse and cleaning staff are planning a week-long strike from November 1, at the start of the international gathering.
Theunion has given the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) until Monday to table an improved pay offer.
Cop26 'poses a risk' of Covid transmission, Nicola Sturgeon warns
Scotland's First Minister, 51, urged those visiting Glasgow for the conference, including delegates and activists, to follow measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Up to 30,000 delegates, 10,000 police and as many as 200,000 protesters, are set to descend on the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) on the banks of the Clyde for the COP26 conference - standing for 'Conference of the Parties'.Speaking during a media briefing on Friday ahead of the start of the UN conference, Ms Sturgeon said that she understands people's unease about the increased risk of Covid transmission caused by the conference.
One local authority insider said: 'We could be in a situation where the city is turned into a giant rubbish dump –just as it's on show to the world.'
GMB bosses have rejected an £850-a-year pay increase for staff earning up to £25,000 and are calling for a £2,000 rise.
Senior organiser Drew Duffy said: 'If strike action is to be avoided, then a significantly improved offer must be brought forward to give our key workers proper value.'
Glasgow City Council asked the union to reconsider its actions. A spokesman said: 'These are national, rather than local, pay negotiations and it is difficult to understand why this step has been taken while those negotiations remain ongoing.
'Cop26 will undoubtedly be a busy and difficult time for the city and its residents. We urge them to think again about the timing of this.'
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's transport agency, said it was 'disappointing' that the RMT had not put the recent pay offer to its members in a ballot.
She said: 'We acknowledge that the RMT has at last contacted ScotRail to reject this offer nearly two weeks after it was made.
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Activists will take part in a procession through the city centre, starting at the McLennan Arch on Glasgow Green.Thousands of activists are heading to Scotland’s largest city this weekend to make their climate change concerns known to the world leaders who will be around the negotiating table.
'This is a disappointing response from the RMT leadership, particularly as we understand Aslef and TSSA have accepted the pay offer and Unite is recommending it to its members, who they are currently balloting.
'It is therefore disappointing that RMT leadership did not put this very good pay offer to a democratic vote to its members.'
The spokeswoman continued: 'In the interest of collective bargaining, we understand that ScotRail would need to re-engage all four unions to determine next steps.
'The RMT leadership has made clear its problem is with rest-day working and that would need to be the focus for any further discussions.'
She added: 'We are keen to see this issue resolved ahead of Cop26 so everyone who works in Scotland's railways can play their part in welcoming the world to our country and showcase our efforts towards building a greener, cleaner railway.'
Meanwhile, a ScotRail spokesman said: 'It's extremely disappointing that the RMT have rejected a very good pay offer, negotiated over several weeks, and opted to continue with this highly damaging strike action, particularly when the other three unions have either accepted the offer or have recommended that their members do so.
'We're seeing customers gradually return to Scotland's railway, but the scale of the financial situation ScotRail is facing is stark.
'To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on the taxpayer, we need to change. All of us in the railway: management, staff, trade unions, suppliers, and Government, need to work together to modernise the railway so that it is fit for the future.'
Rainbow Warrior given go-ahead to sail to Cop26 after U-turn by port authorities .
Greenpeace claims its activists will be allowed to travel to the climate conference in Glasgow along the River Clyde.Port authorities wanted to block the famous vessel from entering the area, which bans craft from the stretch of the Clyde next to the SEC conference centre, but on Monday afternoon Police Scotland confirmed the vessel was to be allowed to continue to its destination.