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Oh, rats: Glasgow facing rodent infestation and labor strike ahead of climate summit

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  • Margaret Thatcher
    Margaret Thatcher
    British stateswoman and prime minister (1925–2013)

Glasgow is suffering from rats, labor issues, and an upcoming train strike ahead of the COP26 climate change summit — and some are pointing to an unlikely suspect.

With the significant climate change conference looming over the Scottish city, authorities are doing their best to clean up their city in preparation for the 25,000 arriving delegates. While Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitkin argued the city only needs a "spruce-up" before COP26, there are several sanitation issues and other troubles local leaders are facing, leading to unexpected suspects attracting blame.

"I do not in any way shy away from the challenges we face as a city," Aitkin told Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross. "Historic challenges that have been around for many years, much of them a legacy of our post-industrial past when the Thatcher government walked away and abandoned and left in neglect communities across the city."

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Margaret Thatcher, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, has attracted both scorn and unlikely praise for her tenure as a conservative leader who attempted to rein in spending.

Aitkin also downplayed the city's rat infestation, claiming there has only been "one, possibly two at most, small incidents where there was ... a health and safety incident, and an employee was taken as a precaution to hospital for what was very minor contact with a rat."

Local leaders who are dealing with sanitation on a daily basis have contradicted Atkins's claims, with Chris Mitchell, a general trade union representative for the city's cleaning staff, saying that workers are facing rat attacks daily.

"Our members are coming across rats every single day," he said. "People walking about the streets are seeing rats in back gardens and going into houses; they are absolutely everywhere."

Mitchell estimated there are 1.3 million rats in the city.

Rats will not be the only problem at COP26. Workers at ScotRail, the national train operating company in Scotland, are expected to go on strike during the summit, which will leave the majority of trains inoperable. Company leadership attempted to provide a last-minute pay offer to stop the strike, only to be rejected.

Many of the council workers, including cleaning staff, are also expected to strike between Nov. 8-12.

ScotRail said Tuesday it has "contingency plans in place should the proposed strikes go ahead," promising to publish them if the strike takes effect.

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This transportation situation will only worsen as the city closes several of its roads in preparation for the 25,000 delegates worldwide.

COP26 will begin on Oct. 31 and continue through Nov. 12.

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Tags: News, Scotland, United Nations, Margaret Thatcher, United Kingdom, Climate Change

Original Author: Christopher Hutton

Original Location: Oh, rats: Glasgow facing rodent infestation and labor strike ahead of climate summit

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