Private contractors could collect bins amidst Glasgow strike action

The council said it will consider recouping any money spent on private contractors from the GMB.

Private contractors could collect bins amidst Glasgow strike action iStock

Glasgow City Council is considering using private contractors to collect rubbish in the city amidst ongoing strike action.

In a statement, the council said that it had been left with “no option” but to explore contingency plans.

It comes after GMB Scotland confirmed that its members would walk out from midnight on November 1 after it said they had not been given the “proper time and space” to consider a pay offer from the council.

Last week, it had appeared as though the strikes would have been avoided after an offer was made by Cosla, with the union indicating it would suspend action for two weeks to consult with members.

However, the council has said that it will now consider recouping any public funds from the GMB spent on private contractors in order to clean up the city.

A spokesperson for the council also said its senior counsel’s opinion is the the strike is unlawful.

“The GMB has left us with no option but to explore contingency plans to tackle the unfolding public health and potential fire hazards that are part of the impact the strike is having on our city,” the spokesperson said.

“This is not an action we consider lightly and if we were to go ahead with this it would be the first time since 2009.

“We had appealed on Sunday to them, during the ongoing negotiations, for public health exemptions which included refuse collections from high rises, student accommodation and street bins and but this was refused.

“We can’t have rubbish piling up – especially when the union keeps changing the duration of the strike. On Sunday they told us the strike would last two or three days, today they told us eight days.”

They added: “During a strike meeting today, we told GMB that our senior counsel’s opinion is that the strike is unlawful but our hope remains that we can resolve the issues with continuing dialogue.

“We will be considering recouping any public funds spent on private contractors from the GMB – as our citizens should not be penalised in the pocket for a dispute over national pay talks.”

In response, GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “The council has repeatedly threatened our members with anti-union laws, but if their officials had any grounds for pursuing this they would have done so.

“But let’s be clear that if the council are using agency staff to try and break this strike action then they would be the ones breaking the law.

“Our members are striking because they have been paid so poorly and treated so badly for too long, and we have tabled serious proposals to reset industrial relations which the council officials have again rejected.

“But where is Glasgow’s political leadership? The silence is absolutely deafening from the council leader Susan Aitken, and she should either step up or step aside.”

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