Glasgow City Council has deleted a tweet that described strike action taken by cleansing staff as “illegal”.

The council leadership has distanced itself from the remark and the council has made clear it is the view of officials not politicians.

The tweet said that bins were not collected on Monday this week due to “illegal strike action”.

However, it has been said that the tweet was being misrepresented as the view of councillors or the SNP administration and has now been deleted.

A council spokesman said: “The message was being widely misrepresented as the view of various councillors, so we chose to delete it. This is an operational matter, dealt with by officials.”

The Labour group has asked for the council leader to apologise but the councillor in charge of workforce relations said it was not teh view or apporach of the SNP administration.

Malcolm Cunning, Labour group leader, said: “This is a shocking lack of judgement from the Council and its political leadership. It is insulting to our staff and fundamentally at odds with the values of the people of Glasgow. This is an attempt to pit residents against workers, a strategy which has clearly backfired and led to widespread condemnation.

“Susan Aitken and the SNP’s silence on this is deafening, but they must stand up and take responsibility. Aitken should issue a full public apology immediately to those workers and the City, as the first step in rebuilding the Council’s relationship with the Trade Unions and its staff.”

Councillor Michelle Ferns, workforce convenor, said: “The language used in a corporate communication does not reflect the approach to workforce relations promised and delivered by the SNP City Government.

“I have made my views known and am glad these comments have been removed.

“It remains the case that action taken by some cleansing staff has had a detrimental impact on refuse collection across the city and as we return to normal there is an increasing demand for street cleansing and bulk uplift.

“I have been in dialogue with GMB representatives to resolve this issue and would prefer to continue to engage constructively rather than jeopardise relations with intemperate language.”

However, a council spokesman said the view the action was illegal was that of the council officials not the political leadership.

The spokesman said: “Neither Councillor Aitken nor any other member described the action as illegal. That is the view of senior officials, on what is a clearly an operational matter.

“A group of cleansing staff refused to go work without a ballot, a vote or any notification of the intention to strike. This was prompted by a move to begin the process of returning to normal working hours.”

The council has since reached agreement with the GMB union that workers would return on Wednesday and on a phased return to normal working hours over the next six weeks.

The spokesman added: “Various restrictions intended to suppress Covid-19 have meant certain employee groups have followed a reduced work pattern during lockdown.

“In this case, staff contracted to work until 6.30pm were finishing at 3.30pm and were asked to extend that to 4.30pm to help the city deal with the rising demand for services, such as street cleaning and the removal of fly-tipping.

“In terms of safety – the council has followed the national waste industry guidance on Covid-19, which is developed in full consultation with the GMB, throughout lockdown.

“Agreement was reached with senior GMB officials on Tuesday for staff to return to work on Wednesday. There was also agreement with the GMB over a phased return to normal contracted hours over the next six weeks.”