Scottish cleaners hold unified picket lines involving members of three unions

Twelve days of strong and well-supported strike action in Edinburgh by local authority cleaning workers is being followed by ongoing action in many councils across Scotland. Very crowded and effective picketing has been reported on social media at warehouse after warehouse, with workers from Unite, Unison and the GMB unions supporting the strikes, respecting each other’s picketing and gaining broad public support in pursuit of their claim. wage.

The Easter Queenslie Picket [Photo: WSWS]

The Edinburgh strike, which began on August 18 and ended on August 30, saw major picketing of the city’s recycling depots and roads and a near-total disruption of normal rubbish collection. The festering piles of rubbish that accumulated around the Grassmarket, the many tourist attractions and the elegant streets of the city, were broadcast around the world. Edinburgh’s unhealthy mess testified to the enormous social power of cleaning workers, underlining their essential daily contribution to public health and safety, keeping the city running for its 527,000 people.

On August 24, thousands more cleaning workers joined the strike across Scotland. Members of Unite, GMB and Unison struck together, although officially the GMB and Unison strikes did not begin until August 26. Unite’s strike was scheduled to last until August 31, while GMB and Unison struck from August 26-29. The workers explained that they had all decided to “take the hit” on their wages and refuse to work on days when their colleagues from other unions were on strike.

Container workers had responded principled to the refusal of Unite, Unison and GMB leaders under Wendy Dunsmore, Johanna Baxter and Keir Greenaway to agree to coordinated strike days. On August 17, the trio wrote to local authority workers explicitly endorsing crossing another union’s picket lines. Instead, workers in many warehouses reported to work, if not covered by a strike mandate, before rushing out to join their colleagues on official strike, to much cheering. As a result of this unified posture, the strikes were as strong at the end of the first wave as at the beginning.

One of the many rubbish heaps in Edinburgh [Photo: WSWS]

A second wave of cleanup strikes, again with staggered dates, will begin on September 6, with Unite members striking for seven days, while GMB and Unison members will strike from September 7 for three days. 25 local authority areas are affected, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen City. 13,000 school and early childhood workers will also strike for three days starting in September in 9 municipalities, and starting September 7 in three more.

See also  This US airport offers the most daily nonstop flights to Cancun

Leave a Comment