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Disruption warning as staff at arena hosting track cycling events strike as World Championships begins

Parking wardens and staff at the Emirates Arena, home to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, have walked out over a pay dispute

As the UCI Cycling World Championships gets underway today in Glasgow, with fans and riders visiting the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the first day of the track cycling events, there have been warnings about potential disruption caused by strikes.

Unite union members including traffic wardens and staff at the Emirates Arena, the east Glasgow arena at which the velodrome is housed, voted in favour of 48 hours of strike action.

The strikes involve around 70 members of staff, Unite says, and began at 7.30am this morning in protest at the current local government pay offer.

There will be pickets outside the Arena, as well as at Cadogan Square Car Park throughout the strike. A rally involving both groups of workers will also be held at midday at the Donald Dewar statue on Buchanan Street.

2023 UCI Cycling World Championships (Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com)

[📷: The action gets underway on the first morning of track cycling at the UCI Cycling World Championships — Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com]

"City Parking and Glasgow Life workers have no option but to take strike action," Unite's general secretary Sharon Graham said. "They deserve a fair pay award rather than a significant real terms pay cut.

"Any disruption caused is due to the chronic failure by Glasgow City Council, COSLA and the Scottish Government to improve on the five per cent offer which has been overwhelmingly rejected.

"Unite fully supports its members who are leading the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions across local government. We will be with them every step of the way to ensure they get what they deserve."

At the ballot, 100 per cent of Unite members working for City Parking supported the action, while 92 per cent at Glasgow Life (related to the Emirates Arena) did too, the action designed to coincide with the start of the World Championships.

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and Emirates Arena (Google Maps)

Noting that the current RPI rate of inflation is above ten per cent, Unite "emphatically rejected" the previous five per cent pay offer by 84 per cent at a previous ballot in May.

"The 48-hour strike action by our members at Glasgow Life and City Parking is a clear warning to COSLA and the Scottish Government," industrial officer at Unite Scotland, Graham McNab said. 

"The disruption beginning in Glasgow could spread over large parts of the country involving thousands of key council workers.

"We repeat our calls for the Scottish Government to directly intervene because we are at an impasse, and the only way this dispute will be resolved is if an improved offer is put on the table for workers who deserve better from their elected representatives."

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life told the Daily Record that "following confirmation of strike action we are looking at how this may impact our delivery of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships".

The body said "where we can" it would "put contingency plans in place to mitigate against such action".

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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