The number of staff employed in Glasgow City Council’s cleansing and parks department has dropped substantially over the last five years, new figures have revealed.
Statistics obtained by the local democracy reporting services reveal that the number of staff in the council’s streetscene which includes cleansing workers has dropped from 485 in 2019 to 383 in 2023.
Meanwhile the number of operational staff within the city’s parks department has dropped from 305 in 2019 to 267 by 2023.
Glasgow City Council recently confirmed it had launched a recruitment drive to employ at least 50 more workers in its cleansing department to help with street sweeping and the emptying of bins.
So far 35 new employees have been added to the street cleansing operation which brings the team numbers back up to 418.
The local authority says that despite “enormous financial challenges” it will continue to deploy available resources effectively and efficiently as possible.
Drumchapel/Anniesland councillor Paul Carey says more needs to be done to make the cleansing role more attractive to young people as the current workforce ages.
Councillor Carey said: “If you look at the figures, there are 102 bodies down in the street scene. That includes people who pick up the litter off the streets.
“The council is going to advertise at least 50 new jobs but the issue is that it’s an ageing workforce and involves heavy lifting and manual labour.
“At the end of the day, it is one of the lowest paid jobs in the council. People would rather take a job in a supermarket and earn more money than lug heavy bins up and down stairs.
“I did a full week’s work with the cleansing fleet and I was shocked at how heavy, difficult and challenging the work was.
“A lot of our young people are going to college and university and when they graduate they are going to look for well paid jobs.
“And young people without a college qualification are going to look elsewhere for a better paid job compared to cleansing.
“The job isn’t attractive. The pay isn’t attractive. And you have to work in all sorts of weather and difficult conditions. They don’t have the option to work from home.”
Glasgow City Council says they are preparing for this year’s budget which is likely to have to make savings worth £120 million over the next three years.
A spokesperson said: “The council has faced enormous financial challenges in recent years and there will continue to be significant budget pressures in the years ahead.
“We are currently preparing for a council budget where it is expected we will have to make savings worth £120m over the next three years.
“However, we continue to deploy available resources as efficiently and as effectively as possible and frontline environmental services remain a key priority for the council.
“With recent recruitment, we have added 35 new employees to our street cleansing operation to bring team numbers up to 418 employees and we also have 52 staff in deep clean teams working routinely in communities across the city.
“We are not aware of any difficulties with recruitment for our parks team when resources allow for new staff to be brought in.”
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