FOR months our city has been in the midst of a waste crisis with overflowing bins, weeds becoming more evident in our city’s pavements, our streets full of litter that lies for days, if not weeks, and flytipping becoming a more common sight in every neighbourhood.

But we have an SNP administration still unwilling to admit that there is a problem. Instead, they are content to pin the blame on everyday Glaswegians, our constituents who are already doing all they can in their personal capacity to help clean up our city but are being met with additional challenges at every turnaround. Whether it’s the introduction of three-weekly bin collections in the middle of a pandemic, or our cleansing workers left feeling as though they are at breaking point with the morale of the workforce at rock bottom as the service faces further cuts and uncertainty.

On Monday, GMB Branch 40, the trade union branch which represents many of Glasgow’s cleansing workers declared a “major breach in health and safety with regards to the waste crisis within Glasgow”. These are the workers on the frontline every day in every neighbourhood and community across our city. A few weeks ago, I met with Chris Mitchell, Branch 40’s convener, and I spoke to some of the cleansing workers. Many of them had been part of the workforce for many years so had seen first-hand what the decimation of the service has done. Decisions made by the SNP administration in the city has increased their workload, but they are consistently seeing staff numbers getting lower with those who leave, not getting replaced. The fleet of vehicles they use are dilapidated and no longer fit for purpose. One thing that struck me with those I spoke to and in the letter GMB has published is that they feel unheard and ignored – policy and decision pushed through by the administration without any real thought or care for the impact on staff who are already struggling.

In the SNP’s 2017 council manifesto for Glasgow, they stated: “We will engage constructively with trade unions to give our staff a fairer deal.”

However, the Glasgow Labour Group is hearing time and time again how many trade union representatives feel they’re being left out of discussions or even when they are asked for feedback, their often serious concerns are not taken notice of or followed up on with actions. I definitely would not call that engaging “constructively”.

This is the state of our great city in a year where we know the world’s eyes will be on it. In November we are due to welcome leaders, environmental experts and activists from across the globe as we host COP26 – the most important climate change conference the world has ever seen, but with less than four months to go our city is in crisis, the reality of year-on-year cuts from the Scottish Government continuing to take its toll and an SNP administration ignoring concerns of workers and unwilling to stand up to those in Edinburgh. Glasgow deserves better.