CLEANSING staff have walked out in "frustration" at council bosses in an action dubbed an "illegal strike" by the local authority.

Staff from nine cleansing depots across the city met in front of the City Chambers in George Square yesterday morning in response to an increase in their hours.

During the covid-19 crisis, cleansing staff have been working reduced hours for full pay in a bid to protect their health.

Now the council has asked that their hours are increased but GMB Scotland bosses say this is the wrong time to do so.

One insider said it would be impossible for workers carrying out full hours to safely social distance.

He pointed to the heightened Glasgow lockdown measures currently in place.

He added that staff wanted a meeting with bosses to discuss the issue and when this was refused, they downed tools and "walked out in sheer frustration".

A GMB Scotland spokesman said: "The safety and well-being of our key workers and their families must be the priority here.

"It’s not safe for the council to phase-out coronavirus lockdown working arrangements at time when there is a resurgence of the virus in the city.

“It would be more far sensible to maintain the lockdown working arrangements for the time being and to have a proper consultation with service management about what the future will look like and how we can best deliver services in a safe and efficient manner.

“However, the issues facing the service pre-covid remain unchallenged by the council.

"Glasgow has a waste crisis after a decade of cuts to the city’s budget and its services and we cannot expect to tackle this without meaningful investment.

"We need more resources.

"The message we’ll deliver to management in talks today is that we want to see a focus on co-operation, safety and investment.

"That’s what will give these key workers confidence their employer is prioritising their concerns and that’s what will tackle the city’s waste crisis."

A council spokesman said: “This was an illegal strike without any reasonable justification and taken without a ballot, a vote or notification.

“The various controls applied throughout lockdown to suppress Covid-19 have meant certain employee groups have been temporarily required to follow a different work pattern.

“The unlawful action taken by GMB members was prompted by a call for staff to take a small but significant step towards normal working hours being completed.

“At all times during lockdown the unions have been fully involved in ensuring all relevant guidance is being followed and that staff are safe at work.

“The workplace control measures put in place have been effective and with rising demand for services, it was considered appropriate to move closer to fulfilling contracted hours.

“The disruption this illegal action will have on services such as household bin collections, street sweeping and fly-tipping removal is therefore completely unacceptable.

“Anyone involved in this illegal industrial strike leaves themselves open to disciplinary measures.”