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Glasgow dubbed UK's 'flytipping capital' where rubbish is piling high

World leaders from 120 countries will arrive in Glasgow for the start of the COP26 climate conference later this month - but risk being greeted by a city where binmen and cleaners are on strike, tourist attractions are closed and rail services cancelled. 

Pictures have shown the grim reality of every corner of Scotland's second city being blighted with rubbish, fly-tipping and bins overflowing over recent months after the SNP-controlled council decided to move once-fortnightly collections back by an extra week. 

And the situation could soon worsen, with 1,500 refuse workers, school cleaners and cooks who are members of the GMB union set to join bin men and ScotRail staff on strike because of an ongoing pay dispute, with 96.9 per cent of returned ballots backing industrial action. 

The action is slated for the first two weeks of November, when world leaders from Boris Johnson to US President Joe Biden will be in town for one of the most consequential climate summits in history. Scenes of waste-strewn streets would be a fresh blow to the summit, which has already been hit by news President Xi of China may not attend. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously cited Covid quarantine restrictions as a reason he might not attend the conference, but has since confirmed his attendance. 

Pictures have shown the grim reality of every corner of Scotland's second city being blighted with rubbish, fly-tipping and bins overflowing in recent months (this image shows fly-tipping in Cranhill) 

Workers remove bath tubs, window frames, mattresses, broken furniture and construction waste dumped underneath the M8 motorway on September 15

Flytipping has skyrocketed in the city since a £35 bulk waste charge was implemented by Glasgow City Council in April. Above: Litter is left in Camlachie area of east Glasgow

Glasgow City Council, run by the SNP, rubberstamped plans to make refuse collections happen every three weeks in April and introduced a new £35 charge for 'bulk items', which has prompted a marked increase in fly-tipping.

Refuse collectors have warned of an impending health and safety disaster - pointing to the ever-increasing risk of Weil's disease, which can be passed on to humans through rat urine.

Ms Sturgeon, 51, and her party have faced criticism from leaders across the political spectrum, including Labour's Keir Starmer who warned Glasgow was 'in a waste crisis' earlier this summer.

Thomas Kerr, the Conservative leader on Glasgow's council, added: 'We’ve become the fly-tipping capital of Britain and host the UK’s fourth-highest population of rats. That’s the legacy of Glasgow’s first Nationalist council.'

It comes as 1,500 Glasgow City Council staff in the refuse, cleansing, school janitorial and catering sectors could strike because of an ongoing pay dispute, with 96.9 per cent of returned ballots backing industrial action.

GMB members rejected a £850-a-year increase for staff earning up to £25,000 a year from local authority umbrella body Cosla, with the union - along with Unison and Unite - all calling for a £2,000 pay rise. Cosla said negotiations are ongoing.

Residents say they have been forced to watch their pavements pile higher with bin bags bursting at the seams and gutters fill with litter amid the ongoing dispute 

Pictures show the grim reality of every corner of Scotland's second city being blighted with rubbish, fly-tipping and bins overflowing in recent month 

Bath tubs, window frames, mattresses, broken furniture, construction waste, drug paraphernalia have all been pictured left to rot on Glasgow's streets in recent months

Organiser, Chris Mitchell, said: 'Over the past 18 months throughout this awful pandemic, essential services across Scotland have been held together by an army of low paid workers.

'We were called key workers, even Covid heroes, but while politicians were happy to applaud us on Thursday nights, they've never put their hands in their pockets to pay us properly.

'The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow during COP26, and our politicians now have a choice - will they fairly reward the frontline workers who got the country through the pandemic, or will they risk embarrassing the city and the country on an international stage?

'The message that our members have sent with this ballot result is clear. We are taking a stand for what we deserve, and we believe the people will stand with us.'

The call for industrial action comes after Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken was criticised for saying the city needs a 'spruce up' before the COP26 conference.

Old car seats, boxes and household rubbish line the streets of Govanhill in Glasgow, just weeks before the COP26 conference

Community bins have overflowed, discarded masks and takeaway boxes spill out of gutters and piles of waste have mounted high in the city's centre, providing rich pickings for Glasgow's ever-increasing population of rodents

A Cosla spokesman said: 'We appreciate everything that Local Government workers have been doing, and continue to do, to support people and communities during the pandemic and as we begin to recover.

'We continue with ongoing, constructive negotiations.'

Rail workers will also go on strike during COP26, the RMT union confirmed on Thursday, over a separate dispute over pay and conditions.

ScotRail staff will strike from Monday November 1 until Friday November 12.

Staff on the Caledonian Sleeper will hold two 24-hour strikes: one from 11.59am on Sunday October 31 and one on Thursday November 11, also from 11.59am.

The news comes amid sweeping cuts to local authority budgets backed by the First Minister - whose Scottish National Party took charge of Glasgow City Council in 2017. Pictured: Fly-tipping outside flats in Anniesland, Glasgow