Members of Unite the Union working in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena were on strike again last Saturday and Sunday (28-29 April) as part of a long-running dispute over additional payments for “heavy lifting duties”.
The Unite members are employed by Glasgow Life, one of multiple “arms-length companies” set up by Glasgow City Council when it was controlled by Labour. The extra payments are for setting up and de-rigging equipment before major sporting events at the Emirates.
Unite imposed an overtime ban last November, followed by a four-day strike in December.
Glasgow Life’s ongoing refusal to make payments for heavy lifting duties (which are paid in other similar venues in Glasgow) is costing each employee £10 a week in lost pay. With 30 workers entitled to the payments, it would cost Glasgow just £15,000 a year to settle the dispute.
Instead of doing so, Glasgow Life is refusing to meet with Unite and spending far more than that on using scab labour: Since the dispute began five months ago Glasgow Life’s expenditure on sub-contractors has increased by around £6,500 a month.
Glasgow Life has also failed to publish minutes of its Board meetings since the dispute began. According to Unite, papers on the dispute which have been tabled for discussion at Board meetings have not even been included in the papers sent out to Board members.
Unite’s current focus is to demand a meeting with the members of the Board of Glasgow Life. It has written to every member of the Board calling for such a meeting.
The demand makes sense, but needs to be backed up by the threat or the reality of further strike action.