How important is it to us to live in a clean and safe city? Most people would agree that it’s very important and any local councillor will tell you that issues to do with litter and refuse collection are one of the most common issues that come up at their surgeries.
So what then are we to make of the latest dispute in Glasgow over the employment status of some of the city’s cleaning staff. The GMB union are highlighting what they say is the real need to retain the services of around 100 temporary staff. The union describe some of the city’s neighbourhoods as Dickensian and that failure to retain the workers will have serious consequences for Glasgow’s image and reputation.
Benny Rankin from The GMB told the Glasgow Evening Times “Glasgow needs sustained investment in refuse collection if we are serious about tackling the shameful state of our city and the retention of these cleansing jobs would be a statement of intent by the new administration. “The city has been hammered by budget cuts over the last decade and its austerity shame is evidenced in rubbish strewn streets and living conditions in some of our communities that can only be described as Dickensian. “For our members it’s meant their working lives have become a health and safety nightmare, where contending with drug dens, excrement and vermin has become a daily occurrence while trying to manage Glasgow’s waste.”
Mr Rankin makes a very powerful point. Glasgow like every other council in Scotland have suffered due to the council tax freeze and the pressure that put on their expenditure. Council tax has gone up this year but will it be enough to tackle the issues highlighted by the GMB. I suspect it won’t and this is perhaps where we as tax payers and Glaswegians should actually admit that if we do want to live in a clean safe city we must be prepared to pay more.
Refuse workers like other providers of key services don’t often get the credit they deserve for such an important job;. So maybe we should be contacting our local councillors and saying we back what the GMB are calling for. A good start would be to make these temporary workers permanent and show that we value the work they do and that we’re prepared to pay for it.
Click the image below to watch a special report the GMB have put together on the problem in Glasgow.