Glasgow union boss hits back at ‘lying’ claims as deep clean launched

Glasgow GMB convenor Chris Mitchell has hit out at claims the union was “lying” about Glasgow’s cleansing crisis as the council launches “deep clean” teams.

Last week the LDR service revealed that the new administration plans to target Glasgow’s most messy streets with Greater Govan, Blairdardie, Ruchazie and parts of the city centre to undergo weeks of “cleansing action” over the summer.

The council is recruiting 52 new staff to form the deep clean teams and says its cleansing service budget “has been protected year on year.”

But Mr Mitchell said he has been telling Glasgow City Council about these issues for five years but no one has listened until now.

Mr Mitchell said: “I have been on the forefront of this for years regarding the deep clean of the city. I was also accused of lying on how bad the city was with my dirty streets campaign.

There have been lots of complaints about rubbish in Glasgow.There have been lots of complaints about rubbish in Glasgow.
There have been lots of complaints about rubbish in Glasgow.

“So if this was the case how come now there has been millions invested to combat the dirty streets and calling it a deep clean.

“Five years of campaigning regarding cuts in the cleansing budget, a service that was in such a bad way myself as GMB cleansing convener along with my branch declared a waste crisis within Glasgow.

“Rats were over running the city, bins were overflowing, fly tipping was becoming an environmental catastrophe.

“But the council and management still continued to deny there was a crisis. The workforce was struggling daily but still no one would listen.

“Five years on they have now reached the conclusion that we were right. I do find this shocking and shameful but moving forward there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“More investment, more employment and hopefully back to the days we can build pride in our communities and cleansing workers will and always be a part of that.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The budget for our cleansing service has been protected year on year due to the importance of the service to the city.

“We are recruiting 52 new, permanent staff to form the deep clean teams and they will work across every council ward in the city, seeking to address a range of environmental issues.

“It has to be acknowledged that the impact of the pandemic on our services was significant with staff directly affected by covid and the various restrictions altering how we could operate.

“The creation of the deep cleans team will help support the city’s recovery from the pandemic, dealing with issues such as the stubborn weeds and build-ups of litter and grime in hard to reach places that we haven’t been able to deal with over the past two years.

“This measure reflects the feedback we have received from the people of Glasgow and forms part of a £3.7 million targeted spend on various environmental maintenance initiatives such as fly-tipping enforcement and improvements to back courts and lanes.

“We are already seeing signs that Glasgow’s cleanliness scores are on the rise as we move on from the pandemic and we are hopeful these new measures will add to an improving city scene.”

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