UNIONS are in my blood and may they never fade. On a Sunday afternoon in April 1961 my father was killed in a crash whilst heading for an industrial dispute at a haulage firm in Forfar. He died instantly.

I raise his death because it has been a helping hand trying to make sense of the GMB strike and all the various opinions that have been launched for and against the strike.

Even as a child I was schooled in the ­absolutes – never cross a picket line, ­never trust the management’s offer, and keep your work colleagues safe and healthy.

I can honestly say I have never strayed from those guiding principles not during the miner’s strike, the firemen’s strike, at the NME or more recently at a staff dispute within the BBC. But not all those strikes were created equal, the miners’ strike was in defence of an industry, communities, and a way of life, the NME was a trendy gesture in support of the anti-apartheid movement.

My father’s death was wrapped in an ­irresolvable irony. He was a union leader for the Lorry Drivers Union, once the ­famous “Carters Union” of the pre-war era when all deliveries in Scotland from the breweries to the dairy farms were horse-drawn.

On the day of his death, his car broke down and he hitched a lift to Forfar. An Aberdeen driver stopped for him and they continued to the village of Alyth when a tire blew out, the lorry veered from the road, struck a tree and my dad died ­instantly.

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The dispute he was on his way to as district Secretary of the Scottish Horse and Motormen’s Association was about unsafe lorries and the failure of haulage companies to provide greater safety for long distance drivers.

Strikes are always much more ­complex in the eyes of the workers than those ­impacted by their actions. Most are brought to a head by pay and conditions and in the case of the lorry drivers’ strike in Angus it was unsafe loads. In what was a relatively new industry at the time, ­drivers were expected to travel long ­distances bearing loads with next to no safety agreements in place.

It was working conditions and the ­often misunderstood and easily mocked issue of health and safety, that led to the ­biggest industrial outrage in Scottish working life, the death of 167 workers when the Piper Alpha platform erupted into a ­fireball.

Warnings by unions and by ­individual workers were largely ignored or not ­escalated quickly enough by ­management. It was the wild-west culture of the oil magnates and the tragedy of Piper Alpha that brought the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (Oilc) a landmark ­aggregation of unions into being. Pioneered by ­Ronnie MacDonald, and using a logo inspired by the Polish workers’ group Solidarnosc, Oilc became union with a difference, principally a body committed to worker’s safety.

The National: The GMB strike is a wholly political move from    the Better Together funders

The arrival into our homes of the BBC Scotland channel has delivered glimpses into the fascinating history of Scottish trade unionism. Documentaries on the Timex strike and Piper Alpha have been excellent, but we still await a big ­sweeping history of industrial strife in Scotland from the 1920s rent strikes to the ­miners’ strike and from the Lee Jeans dispute in Greenock in 1981, to Scotland’s flying pickets. It is an epic story, still untold.

My favourite factoid from the story of Scotland’s labour unions was the word that has survived the strikes in Dundee jute mills. Angry workers waved and threw their jute tools known as ­“heckles” at bosses, thus gifting us the word ­heckling. Scotland’s stand-up comedian should be forced to study Dundee’s labour history before they are given a slot at the Stand Comedy Club.

All of this came to mind this week when the GMB announced their intention to withdraw their labour in the context of COP26 in Glasgow. It is a strike that has divided opinion and has exposed a ­spectacular bad faith on both sides.

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I support the strike, not as an ­emotional response to my upbringing, but at a more basic level that supporting low-paid ­workers trying to better their income is the right thing to do. For the ­binmen it is demonstrably true, they do an ­unfashionable job clearing our debris, but they also act as front-line workers. At COP26 their job is recycling paper and cardboard packaging, collecting food and minimising landfill.

MY support for this strike aside we should not be naïve about how it has been orchestrated and leveraged for political gain.

The GMB strike has a tangled back story and is steeped in political enmity. It says as much about the Labour Party and the SNP’s tribal territorialism in Glasgow than it does about industrial action.

This a party-political strike in which the low paid may finally benefit but damage has already been done to their cause in the eyes of many natural supporters.

The GMB has had a chequered ­history in Glasgow and many still blame the union’s past failings for the dire financial straits the city council operates within. Soon after the SNP took control of Glasgow City Council the new administration struck a £548m pay deal with 16,000 workers a legacy obligation that dated back over years.

To subsidise the deal the city sold off ­numerous properties and refinanced loans a painful process worsened by the GMB’s ideological pasa doble for the ­initial discrimination.

What is starkly obvious is that here has been more contemporaneous noise around the bin strike than there ever was around the women cheated out of equal pay.

No strikes are ever uniform, they can be brought to a head by issues like equal pay, by managerial truculence, by political manipulation and even by entrenched misunderstandings on both sides.

Intentionally, the strike has placed ­Glasgow City Council in a no-win ­situation. Although the dispute is ­technically with the local authorities’ body Cosla, the GMB’s campaign is ­firmly focused on Glasgow. As soon as the strike was declared there were two obvious next steps either allow the streets to fester and deepen claims of rat-infested streets or call-in third-party cleaners and run the risk of being seen as disrupting a strike with scab labour.

What an unholy mess and it goes ­deeper still.

I support the trade union movement through thick and thin, but I would be lying if I said I had wholly forgiven the GMB leadership for donating to Better Together in 2014 and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories in a rogue’s ­alliance against Scottish independence.

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Try as I might, I cannot reconcile their decisions to help fund an alliance with the most virulent anti-trade union ­political party in modern British history.

Nor do I feel entirely comfortable with the scenes they have encouraged. The sight of Anas Sarwar, the Scottish ­Labour leader skulking up back lanes looking for fly-tipping sites as a backdrop for his ­latest piece-to-camera is the stuff of ­political cynicism. Each new photograph came with the stench of opportunism, a man hunting out rubbish in a desperate bid for relevance

So, whilst I support the workers and wish their strike fulsome success, I ­cannot bring myself to back the GMB’s executive and their inconsistencies in policy.

You don’t get to fund a coalition with a right-wing political party that openly ­despise trade unions one day, and then get to play Jimmy Maxton the next day.

The GMB have handled this strike ­woefully and have already let down the very people you claim to lead.