Race to remedy transport strike-threat to city Games

I HAVE found myself getting somewhat agitated by the various threats of industrial action during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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A variety of transport workers across Glasgow were threatening to take industrial action.

Any proposed action, would of course, affect the buses, Subway and the train network, during the Games.

I recalled similar threats by transport staff in London prior to the 2012 Olympics and just last week by staff in Brazil, ahead of the World Cup.

My first reaction was that this appeared, at face value, to be unnecessary and opportunistic.

Yet, as with most stories, it does have another side.

Transport staff across Glasgow are seeking equity in the additional payments successfully negotiated by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union.

The RMT, formerly led by Bob Crow, who sadly passed away earlier this year, managed to negotiate additional payments of up to £275, for staff working longer, more unsociable hours during Glasgow 2014.

Other unions were also able to reach similar agreements, averting industrial action on our railways and buses.

Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) however, remain in dispute with Subway staff over the issue.

Now, I am sure there may well be other issues complicating the negotiations, however the equitable treatment of all staff working across this period, will remain important to the success of the Games.

Glasgow 2014, has been billed as the 'public transport games', with an extra 500,000 journeys anticipated on the busiest days.

Some 1 million extra visitors will commute into and through Glasgow in the next month.

It is vital that our transport infrastructure functions efficiently .

Similar payments were successfully negotiated for London 2012.

In the coming weeks, it is my intention to shine some light on the transport arrangements which will be in place during the Games.

I will also provide some insight as to the necessary security arrangements which will be in force behind-the-scenes, to ensure that Glasgow 2014, remains safe and enjoyable, for everyone.

Glasgow has a right to expect its transport staff to excel during the Games. Our transport staff have a right to expect to be treated fairly and equitably.

There are few who would argue against those principles.

Let's convert them into meaningful progress on the ground.

MORE and more, it is happening to each one of us.

Just last week, I received three phone calls in one evening, from marketing firms trying to sell me everything from PPI services, to windows, to energy and Insurance.

On most occasions, I make sure to ask them to remove my name and number from their list for any future such cold calls.

Still, the same companies call over and over again.

Earlier this week, I noticed that industry watchdogs had forced a Paisley-based marketing firm to stop cold calling customers.

The Information Commissioners Office, had found the company repeatedly used false names in order to avoid detection.

Unfortunately, such tactics have now become something of an epidemic.

It would seem that for every call centre that is there to help advise us when things go wrong, or when we need something, there is another whose phones are only designed to dial out.

This form of aggressive marketing is a growing industry, one which is ripe for new regulation, and law.

Setting up an auto dialler to randomly telephone thousands of numbers is an act of public nuisance.

There are some fairly simple ways to regulate such activity, for example, by making it an offence to contact someone by such means, unless they have requested or given permission for such contact to take place.

Making a nuisance of yourself is not a calling.

Stop it and leave us alone.

I SEE that the cost estimates are in for the repair of the Glasgow School of Art. Despite Glasgow Firefighters saving some 90% of the structure and 70% of the contents, the £35million figure remains quite staggering.

The saving of so much of the Art School, remains a testament to the outstanding skill, bravery and professionalism of Glasgow's Firefighters.

MSPs were this week told that the total cost of repair is likely to be in the region of some £20-£35 million.

In addition, it is likely that the work will take up to four years to complete.

Of course, it is hoped that much of this funding will come from the Art School's insurance company.

However, in my experience and with a claim as large and as complex as this one is, I would be surprised if the eventual insurance settlement covers the full costs of the repairs.

The Scottish Government have indicated that they would be willing to match fund the cost element of a proportion of the repairs, the rest, I'm afraid, will require to come from public subscription.

If that happens, I'm sure that Glaswegians will once again show how big hearted they are.

And on that note of big heartedness, wouldn't it be nice if the actions of the Glasgow Firefighters were, perhaps in some small way, reflected in the restoration.

A Phoenix from the ashes, so to speak.

Pablo Picasso himself once reflected that, "every act of creation, is first an act of destruction."

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