Hundreds of election workers to strike as Renfrewshire residents head to polls


Hundreds of vital election workers will strike today in a row over pay as Renfrewshire residents head to the polls.

Around 200 staff from the local authority’s Building Services team are set to down tools, with many picketing Renfrewshire Council’s HQ today as voting gets underway.

Unite union said their members play a key role in ensuring election day polling goes ahead, including setting up and dismantling polling stations, as well as delivering ballot boxes to the count.

Fears were raised that the election could descend into chaos, with sources saying the council had been forced to draft in managers to carry out the roles of striking workers in order to reduce the impact on the election.

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One source told the Express: “It’s looking like it might cause an absolute nightmare.

“The council have said they are bringing in managers to do the jobs of those who are on strike.

“But I don’t see how that’s going to be enough.

“I would be very surprised if there was no impact at all.”

Despite concerns, council bosses have vowed the election will continue without interruption.

Unite members could be seen picketing Paisley’s Underwood Road recycling center yesterday as their three-day strike action began on Tuesday.

Union bosses previously accused the council of “escalating” the pay dispute.

The Express reported that the industrial action stemmed from bitterness targeted against the authority after council bosses, upon being informed of Unite members’ intention to strike, gave the order that all craft workers be removed from working during the election.

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Unite said Renfrewshire Council’s decision to “remove” their members from their duties is potentially a breach of the Employment Relations Act (1999), which would render it illegal.

James O’Connell, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members in the trades and our apprentices have reached the end of their patience with Renfrewshire Council’s mind games.
“Strike action will now hit the forthcoming elections and we do not rule out taking further action beyond May 6.

“The council should get back round the negotiating table, rather than deliberately taking steps to escalate this dispute.”
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “As we were notified by Unite the Union that their members would undertake industrial action during the dates of the local government election, we have put in place contingency arrangements to ensure it continues to run as planned.

“The election is being delivered independently by Renfrewshire’s returning officer, with the council supporting its delivery, and we would encourage everyone registered to vote to have their say in the Scottish local government election on May 5.

“We remain fully committed to continuing positive negotiations with Unite the Union to find an agreed position for our Building Services workforce as quickly as possible, with a recent offer to our staff having been agreed with the union and recommended for acceptance by them to their members. , but was, unfortunately, rejected by the workforce.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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