Emergency meeting called by GMB to deal with Glasgow's 'waste crisis'

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GMB Convenor Chris Mitchell has called an emergency meeting to find a solution to Glasgow's waste crisis

An emergency meeting to discuss Glasgow’s “waste crisis” has been called for by a local trade union convenor.

Over the last couple of weeks the local democracy reporting service has 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. 

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A meeting has now been set up by Labour councillor Paul Carey on behalf of the GMB convenor Chris Mitchell to listen to the union’s concerns with regards to waste as well as key concerns that residents and staff face on a daily basis. 

Mr Mitchell says that his workers are facing the brunt of the public’s dissatisfaction by being on the front line and that more staff are needed to clean up the city and take the pressure off those absent from sickness within the department.

He said: “We have reached a crisis point and we need a discussion with different parties to try and resolve the issue.

“I believe that local councillors have had complaints from their constituents about cleansing. There is a lot of pressure from the GMB members and members of the public to find out what is actually going on.

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“You can quite clearly see that the city is in decay. There is no point in having five or six different conversations with different parties with different answers.

“The common goal and question for everybody is – how do we get the city clean and pick the rubbish up on time? How do we provide a better service? 

“It is having a damaging effect on the economy as people are less likely to invest in the city centre or open up a new shop.

“When you go to any country, the first thing you look at is how clean it is. We need to do something fairly quickly. We have taken pictures for a reason to highlight the kind of conditions we are facing. 

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“Management say that the high level of sickness is impacting services but workers are being run into the ground because there is not enough staff. 

“We need to get something put in place fairly quickly and for all parties to sit down with the trade union that represents cleansing workers across the city to hear our stories. 

“We are on the front line and we are getting it from members of the public.”

Both the Greens and the Conservatives are urging the SNP administration to find a solution and address the problem once and for all.

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Councillor Anthony Carroll, waste and resources spokesperson for the Green Councillors group, said: “Green councillors have written to the SNP administration calling for urgent action to resolve the unacceptable situation facing many residents, some of whom haven’t had their blue bins collected for up to two months. 

“While some disruption can be expected in winter, the scale of the problem this year seems wholly disproportionate to the weather we have experienced. It also calls into question the short-sighted decision to remove on-street recycling points which provide vital overspill facilities in areas where most people live in flats.

 “Greens have consistently argued that people living in flats deserve the same level of service as people in main door properties, but once again they are being put to the back of the line, despite being less likely to have the space to store excess waste or access to a car to take it to their local recycling centre. They also tend to be in areas of higher deprivation.

 “So as well as ensuring a quick fix to the current crisis we also need assurances that lessons will be learned to avoid any repeat.”

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Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr added: “Frontline council workers are bearing the brunt of SNP cuts to rubbish collections and I understand why unions have decided enough is enough.

“Far too many areas of the city have been left looking horrendously unkempt. That not only risks public health, but also is deeply damaging for struggling local businesses.

“I hope that SNP-Green councillors running Glasgow City Council will take GMB concerns seriously and finally deliver a plan to clean up Glasgow, as we have repeatedly called on them to do.”

Chris Mitchell, GMB Convenor, called an emergency meeting to discuss Glasgow's waste crisis this weekChris Mitchell, GMB Convenor, called an emergency meeting to discuss Glasgow's waste crisis this week
Chris Mitchell, GMB Convenor, called an emergency meeting to discuss Glasgow's waste crisis this week

The SNP says it has been in contact with the GMB on a local and national level regarding the issues.

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A spokesperson said: “The City Convenor for Workforce has been in regular dialogue with the GMB both at a national and local level on this issue in recent weeks. 

“Those conversations are continuing with further meetings planned for next week. While a meeting has been arranged by a Labour councillor for Friday to discuss cleansing, the organiser hasn’t invited the City Convener responsible for cleansing.”

Labour has also been approached for comment. 

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