GLASGOW’S cleansing department has accused the city council of putting them in danger by “diluting” the safety measures introduced to mitigate Covid-19.

The GMB Trade Union has written to city councillors, on behalf of workers, asking them to support members who were “publicly attacked and threatened by highly-paid council officials and their lawyers” this month.

A letter, submitted earlier this week, challenged the action taken by the local authority who said that staff who took part in an industrial strike – they believed to be illegal, left themselves open to disciplinary measures.

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The union fears that service managers and council officials are moving to relax the working practices in place since March at exactly the same moment the Scottish Government is instructing the economy to work from home, where possible, to combat rising COVID infection.

GMB Scotland Organiser Rhea Wolfson said: “Key workers are again being asked to shoulder the biggest risks to their health and safety, so it makes no sense for the council to dilute working practices put in place to mitigate COVID infection at a time when the virus is soaring.

“That service managers and officials have spent the last fortnight trying to coerce already frightened workers into new arrangements that would increase colleague to colleague interaction in cleansing depots is negligent and wrong.

“Now more than ever, we should support and value our key workers, as the city’s councillors have resolved to do, instead of imposing unsafe working conditions that could seriously compromise workers’ health and safety.

“Again, we call on management and council officials to cooperate with our members, help keep them as safe as possible and work with us to bring forward the investment needed to tackle the city’s waste crisis.”

Yesterday afternoon staff from the council’s cleansing staff stood outside the council chamber to urge politicians to recognise the value of low paid workers during a potential financial crisis.

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Chris Mitchell, convenor of the GMB trade union, said: “As cleansing workers, who have been called essential throughout this pandemic, we were brutally attacked online and through social media which can only be described as draconian tactic.

“Workers have been standing up for their health and safety despite threatening behaviour and we are asking councillors to support the employees of the city council.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Agreement was reached with the GMB for staff to return to work following recent unofficial action.

“Further agreement was also reached with the GMB on a phased return to the completion of all contracted hours by cleansing staff.

“We continue to follow the covid-related guidance on safe working practices for cleansing staff that is set at a national level in conjunction with the GMB.”