Councillors hold 'waste crisis' meeting with GMB unions reps

Councillors sat down with reps from the GMB trade union to discuss key issues staff and residents face on a daily basis.

Glasgow ouncillors hold ‘waste crisis’ meeting with GMB unions reps STV News

Glasgow councillors are pushing for a new updated festive cleaning plan and for vacancies in the city’s cleansing department to be filled by the end of February in a bid to address the “waste crisis”.

Labour councillors Paul Carey, Stephen Docherty and Green councillor Anthony Carroll sat down with Chris Mitchell and Keir Greenaway of the GMB trade union to discuss key issues staff and residents face on a daily basis.

It comes after the local democracy reporting service told of the festive backlog which has led to bins not being emptied for several weeks and rubbish dumped at the side of the road.

Those in attendance agreed to ask council management for the 50 vacant posts in cleansing to be fast tracked and advertised online by the end of February so the team has more resources and boots on the ground to empty bins more efficiently and clean the streets of Glasgow.

They are also asking the council to include a festive programme in their winter maintenance programme so that residents are not left with rubbish dumped on the street and overflowing bins for weeks on end between Christmas and New Year.

Glasgow City Council says the recruitment of the 50 staff is already underway and that a link between the festive cleansing plan and winter maintenance plan is already in place with staff being redeployed from other areas to support bin collections.

Overtime was also offered to staff over Christmas.

Speaking about the meeting councillor Carey said: “Concerns were also raised about the number of cleansing staff that have left the service and Chris asked councillors to push for these job posts to be filled as soon as possible.

“We want festive cleansing plans to be included in the winter maintenance plan so that staff can work extra shifts to get the waste off the streets.

“There are between 50 and 54 empty posts that need to be filled to help deal with waste collection across the city.

“We need to be talking to the unions just now to get a strategy in place for next Christmas. We know the recycling and general waste is going to increase tenfold during that time.

“We go through the same issues every year. We need to get something put in place to deal with the month of December.”

Anthony Carroll, waste and resources spokesperson for the Green Councillors group, added: “I’m grateful to the GMB for meeting with councillors on the pressures our cleansing workforce face. There was a clear desire to see a robust plan for our cleansing services, in particular around winter.

“Greens want to see our workforce supported to carry out the work required to deal with the increased volume we see at the festive period, and we still believe the loss of public recycling areas is detrimental to dealing with the overflow of waste in the long-term, in particular for our flatted properties.

“In light of the current crisis, Greens believe that the planned recruitment drive for cleansing staff must be ramped up so that we have boots on the ground helping to resolve our waste crisis as soon as possible

“A higher amount of people cannot drive to depots to dump waste from flatted properties, many within areas of our city suffering from higher levels of deprivation, so we must ensure that long term planning is in place that can withstand the increase of waste we see at Christmas time.”

Chris Mitchell the GMB convenor said he was happy with how the meeting went and confirmed suggestions had been made to help solve the situation.

He said: “We gave the councillors in attendance a number of suggestions to help us move forward – particularly on the job front.

“We have got a commitment that there will be new starts which will take the pressure off members of our team.

“We are also hoping to reach an agreement that will help us lift all waste streams over the festive season instead of just one so that green, brown, grey and blue bins will be collected.

“This will help deal with the collection problems we experience every year.”

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