CLIMATE activists stood in solidarity with binmen today on the third day of strike action during COP26. 

Members from Extinction Rebellion joined around 60 cleansing workers on the Western Depot picket line as they downed their tools in a campaign for better pay.

While chants were made for a better COSLA pay rise, activists warned binmen will be on the front line in the face of a climate "catastrophe". 

Glasgow Times:

Helen Burnett, from Extinction Rebellion Faith Bridge, said: "These guys need our support – when it comes to a climate catastrophe, essential workers are going to be on the front line. 

“So, if we don’t support them now, why should they support us later?  

“There are all sorts of things with social justice that overlap with climate justice. Climate action is just one part of a whole series of things around social injustice that need to be addressed and this is one of them. 

“I don’t think the rubbish not being collected is a fault of the workers, it’s a fault of the structures that mean their pay isn’t fair. 

“These guys can make an impact because all eyes are on Glasgow and if the city is shown up not to be looking after its essential workers then that’s bad news for Glasgow and needs to be addressed.”  

Glasgow Times:

A total of 970 binmen, lorry drivers and street cleaners across the city have walked out in a pay rise row with COSLA - an umbrella body that represents Scottish councils. 

The GMB members walked out one minute past midnight on Monday morning as thousands of COP26 delegates descended into the city.

Union chiefs say that the walkout comes after Glasgow City Council failed to give “the proper time and space to consider the 11th-hour offer from Cosla”.

The union had previously agreed to stall strike action during the climate event after COSLA offered those earning below £25,000 an additional £1062.

Glasgow Times:

Sean Baillie, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: "I think it’s brilliant to have climate activists with us today and I think the action taken by Glasgow’s cleansing workers is the action that we are all going to need to take to defeat the climate catastrophe.  

"We wouldn’t be in this situation if there was a happy workforce. This is a combination of over a decade of different issues – constant reforms to the services that undermine the capacity of the services they deliver, deterioration of facilities and high workloads.  

“The combination of events have led the workforce to take the decision to take a stand for themselves. It is about pay and it is about the COSLA pay offer but we wouldn’t be here if we were a happy workforce and treated fairly."  

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “Pay negotiations take place nationally, between COSLA and the trades unions. The GMB has told COSLA that industrial action is suspended to allow them to consult members.

“At around £100m each year, environmental protection is the city’s single biggest budget after education and social care. Waste collection and disposal account for the vast majority of those costs – and we’re spending £14 million more than we were five years ago.  We’re also currently investing in more staff, new bins and a more modern, cleaner fleet.

“Meanwhile, the GMB is demanding the city rolls back efforts to prioritise recycling and waste reduction.”