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Scottish First Minister urged to intervene as strike action threatens to “blight” UCI Cycling World Championships

Walkouts, involving staff in parking services and employed at the Emirates Arena, are set to begin on 3 August, the opening day of the worlds

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has been urged by trade unions to intervene in a pay dispute, as councillors claim that the upcoming UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow could be “blighted” by the proposed strike action.

The GMB announced earlier this week that 95 percent of members in parking services employed by Glasgow City Council have backed industrial action during next month’s world championships, the first worlds of its kind to include most of cycling’s disciplines, the Glasgow Times reports.

Staff represented by Unite and employed at the Emirates Arena (home of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome), which will host the track and indoor cycling events at the championships, have also voted in favour of strike action.

The first day of walkouts is scheduled to take place on Thursday 3 August, the opening day of the 11-day long championships.

> UCI Cycling World Championships could be disrupted by council strikes, union warns

Chris Mitchell, GMB’s convenor for Glasgow’s cleansing workers, has said that the only way to avert the planned industrial action, and ensure that the worlds avoids any disruption, is for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to return to the table and come up with a better offer than the five percent pay rise offer that was rejected.

He also urged First Minister Humza Yousaf to intervene in the ongoing dispute, an act the SNP politician’s predecessor Nicola Sturgeon took last year to end a previous negotiation stalemate, with that action bringing Glasgow’s lowest-paid council employees a 10 percent pay rise and ending widespread industrial action.

“COSLA has two weeks to get around the table with the trade unions,” Mitchell said. “We want to avert strike action and people want to be able to come to this city and enjoy it but we are not going to sit back because it is our members that are at the very heart of this.

“We are going to be doing a lot of protests in the coming weeks, so we are going to be very visible. Even though it is city parking that has voted to take industrial action, they will get support from other services including cleansing.

“I would urge COSLA to get around the table with the trade unions and I would actually urge the First Minister to get involved in this as this is his first year – he won’t want to see any strike action during the first year of being in charge of this country.

“There is an opportunity there to try and avert this very quickly and help low-paid workers out of poverty.”

> Finish of UCI Cycling World Championships events moved after road closure complaints from locals

Local councillors have also called for a solution to the dispute, which they claim will lead to the world championships’ return to the UK being “blighted” by strikes.

“Glaswegians who are looking forward to welcoming world-class cyclists to the city will be dismayed by the prospect of the event being disrupted,” Glasgow City Council’s Conservative leader Thomas Kerr said.

“With only a fortnight to go until the championships kick off there is an onus on all sides to get back around the table and reach a positive solution.

“Every effort must be made to ensure that our communities reap positive benefits from hosting the championships, rather than seeing them blighted by strike action.”

> “They’re essentially locking down”: Residents angry at “ridiculous” traffic restrictions ahead of UCI Cycling World Championships

GMB Scotland’s senior organiser for public services Keir Greenaway said in a statement: “We have given COSLA every opportunity to reach an agreement on a pay offer that would fairly reflect the value of our members and the crucial work they do. We then gave the Scottish Government every opportunity to intervene and help secure a fair offer.

“Sadly, so far, those opportunities have been squandered and time is quickly running out for COLSA and the Scottish Government to avert disruption and industrial action. They must by now understand the anger of our members and need to act urgently to negotiate a new and acceptable offer.”

Meanwhile, a Scottish government spokesperson said that Holyrood is currently working closely with the organisers of this year’s world championships, as well as COSLA, the local authorities, and the event delivery partners to “monitor and mitigate the risk of industrial action”.

Speaking on behalf of the UCI organisers, a Glasgow Life spokesperson said: “Following confirmation of strike action by GMB, we are looking at how this may impact our delivery of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and where we can put contingency plans in place to mitigate against such action.”

> Cyclist raises alarm over "dangerous" potholes on 2023 World Championships road race routes

As Scotland prepares to host the inaugural ‘combined’ UCI World Cycling Championships in under two weeks’ time, the planned industrial action isn’t the only potential hiccup that the organisers have had to overcome in recent weeks.

Yesterday, we reported that the UCI confirmed that the finish of two of the championship’s events has been moved after locals complained about road closures. The Gran and Medio Fondo road races, which will take place in Perth on 4 August, were initially set to start and finish on Tay Street in the city centre.

However, the governing body announced this week that the finish for the mass-participation events – two of the early fixtures in this year’s combined 11-day world championships – has now been moved over two miles away to the grounds of Scone Palace, the coronation site for Scotland’s ancient monarchs and former home of the Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny.

The UCI said in a statement that the change in finish location (the original start on Tay Street will remain in place) was made “due to recent safety concerns and associated implications regarding the duration of road closures” in the city centre.

> Wout van Aert takes time trial bike to Scotland for World Championships recon —then rides an OVO bike on Glasgow’s "risky" streets

The changes to the Gran and Medio Fondo routes come a month after a group of Dumfries residents also secured a compromise from the UCI, allowing them to access their street by car, after they complained that they were facing “unacceptable, impractical, and ridiculous” traffic restrictions during the para-cycling time trial events at next month’s championships.

Residents in parts of the town expressed concerns that they will not have access to their streets between 7am and 6pm on August 9 and 10, the days of the para-cycling road individual time trials, with some claiming that they will be forced to park their cars at a nearby Tesco overnight and that the race restrictions were “essentially locking down Dumfries”.

However, Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed last month to tweak its plans for the event to enable those who live in Summerville Crescent to access the street through the supermarket’s carpark.

> Angry residents who slammed “ridiculous” traffic restrictions ahead of UCI Cycling World Championships secure compromise from council

Meanwhile, the state of the roads which will play host to the elite men’s and women’s races continue to be a source of frustration and concern for local cyclists, who have accused the local authorities of carrying out a “crude patch-up” on the crumbling infrastructure.

Earlier this year, pictures taken by a reader, showing numerous large potholes and patched sections of tarmac along the route of the road races – which form part of this year’s inaugural ‘combined’, multi-disciplinary world cycling championships – prompted the cyclist to suggest that this year’s event “may be remembered for all the wrong reasons”.

2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)

> Cyclists blast last-minute “crude patch-up” of potholes ahead of Cycling World Championships, as Tadej Pogačar’s team reportedly say Scottish roads are “worst they’d ever seen”

And in May, another Scottish cyclist expressed concerns about the state of the course after snapping his saddle thanks to the poor road surface on the Crow Road, in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, which will feature during the early part of the elite men’s, elite women’s, and U23 men’s road races, before the riders reach the finishing circuits in Glasgow.

At the end of June, it was reported that an “intensive” repair programme was underway to ensure that the roads are up to scratch for the best riders in the world come early August.

However, these efforts were condemned by local cyclists as a purely cosmetic job and a “crude patch-up”, with one cyclist even claiming that members of staff involved with the Slovenian team – on a reconnaissance trip ahead of the race for one of the pre-race favourites, Tadej Pogačar – told him that they were the worst roads they’d ever seen for a world championships course.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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muhasib | 10 months ago

In case any reader is interested in what GMB Scotland are wishing to improve upon this is the statement from COSLA on what has been offered to the workforce:
" “While the offer value in year is 5.5%, the average uplift on salaries going into the next financial year is 7%. Those on the Scottish Local Government Living Wage would get 9.12% and those at higher grades, where Councils are experiencing severe recruitment challenges, would see 6.05%"

Wammerz | 10 months ago

Yousless will stump up the cash and then go ask the evil westmonster to pay for it

essexian replied to Wammerz | 10 months ago
1 like

Wammerz wrote:

Yousless will stump up the cash and then go ask the evil westmonster to pay for it

Until the Scottish vote to remove themselves from under the yoke of English imperialism of course they will have to apply to Westminster for funds given that Westminster controls a huge amount of funding received by the Scottish Government.


Strange how in the areas controlled by the Scottish Government like health, there have been few disputations whereas in England under the Tories, the workers are having to fight against having their wages cut in real terms for the 13th year running.


Freedom for Scotland is a must.


Car Delenda Est replied to essexian | 10 months ago

Freedom for everyone outside of London is a must.
Let's drop the divisive nationalism and focus on getting proper representation for all citizens.

essexian replied to Car Delenda Est | 10 months ago
1 like

The English have been offered such and rejected the idea:

Perhaps they have changed their mind given this was 20 years back but I see no call for such. 

muhasib replied to essexian | 10 months ago
1 like

That's just for the North East, imagine if they'd gone ahead with the Yorkshire referendum, we could have had passports, free rhubarb and an extra bank holiday on August 1st.

perce replied to muhasib | 10 months ago

At the 2012 Olympics Yorkshire finished 12th in the medals table.

essexian replied to muhasib | 10 months ago

I wouldn't bother with a referedum, jsut give Yorkshire back to the Danes I say. 

Freedom from Yorkshire!!!!!

Fignon's ghost replied to essexian | 10 months ago

I had three cups of Yorkshire tea (in quick succession) on the plane back from the Med the other day. Two weeks without!
Can we please stop Yorkshire bashing, please!

chrisonabike replied to muhasib | 10 months ago
1 like

It's not a union of equals - Yorkshire is just propping up the rest of the UK via the profits of the pomfret cake industry!

brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 10 months ago

chrisonatrike wrote:

It's not a union of equals - Yorkshire is just propping up the rest of the UK via the profits of the pomfret cake industry!

And the Rhubarb Triangle.

essexian replied to brooksby | 10 months ago

That's nothing.... Essex props up the UK on the profits made from nail bars, plastic surgery and handbags..... and that's just us blokes. 

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