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Dust Cart Drivers' Strike 1975

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Dust Cart Drivers' Strike 1975

Rubbish piled up in Crawford Street in Partick during the Glasgow Dust Cart Drivers' Strike of 1975. John Byrne's gable end mural Boy on Dog was one of the first of many to be completed in the city during the 1970s.

A national dust cart drivers began in October 1974 but drivers returned to work at the end of the month after a settlement was reached. Unfortunately, difficulties arose over the interpretation of the agreement and the Glasgow drivers went on unofficial strike on the 6 January the following year.

By 1975 around 7,000 tons of rubbish required collection from city streets each week, and as the strike continued the rubbish began to pile up. In early March the Chief Environmental Health Officer advised the Corporation to call in the army to remove refuse before serious health hazards developed. Soldiers began work on 19 March and removed 39,000 tons of rubbish before the strikers returned to work on 14 April.

One of the main health concerns during the strike had been the increase of the rat population in Glasgow. Statistics compiled afterwards showed that the number of rats increased only slightly during the strike but rose dramatically in the following month and continued to do so for the rest of the year.

Reference: 1270.82.341

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Chief Environmental Health Officer, gable ends, Glasgow Corporation, Glasgow Dust Cart Drivers' Strike, murals, rats, rubbish, strikes, tenements

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