A GIANT blow-up rat was erected in the West End this afternoon in an effort to put a spotlight on the "cleansing crisis" in Glasgow. 

Members of GMB's branch 40 united outside the Kelvinhaugh Depot to assemble the large figure, which they have named 'Cludgie'. 

The union - which represents binmen - hopes that the fake rodent will raise awareness of "horrendous cuts" to the cleansing department. 

Glasgow Times: Chris MitchellChris Mitchell

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow City Council has, however, said that the overall cleansing budget has risen by 20% in the past five years.

Chris Mitchell, who is the branch 30 convener, said: "The rat is a symbol of what the city has become because of unnecessary horrendous cuts to the cleansing department. 

"Glasgow was named fourth highest in the UK for the rat population and it has become a plague that has ravaged the city".

Glasgow Times:

The stunt comes just weeks after we exclusively revealed three binmen had been attacked by rats in city bin sets. 

Now, the union has launched a 'rat register' where they are inviting the workforce and members of the public to lodge any sightings of the rodents and possible attacks.

Mr Mitchell added: "Families are scared to let their kids out in backcourts and streets. Workers are being attacked and hospitalised.  

"But, the council denies there is a problem. 

"GMB branch 40 will today be launching the rat register for the city so the workforce and the public can keep a record of sightings and attacks. 

"Together, we will put a stop to the waste crisis and the ingress of rats. By standing shoulder to shoulder, a message of solitary will be sent between the workforce and the public that Glasgow deserves better than this."

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow City Council has since hit out at the GMB for the "stupid stunt" and has insisted that the union "routinely misses meetings" to discuss workforce matters. 

A spokesman said: “GMB’s concern for Glasgow is about as believable as their fake rat.

“It’s telling that the GMB is more interested in staging stupid stunts such as this rather than sitting down for practical discussions that will benefit the city’s residents and visitors.

“The GMB routinely misses meetings to discuss workforce matters, health and safety, service developments and how to put the city in good order as we hopefully move on from the pandemic.

“Whatever the GMB’s agenda might be beyond spreading fear and alarm, it is not one that focuses on representing their members in discussions with council officers.

“The facts are that the overall cleansing budget has risen by 20% in the past five years and there are now more refuse collectors employed by the council than there were in 2016.

“We are also very clear that rats are an unfortunate fact of life in any city and, despite the pandemic, we have been working to deal with the reports we continue to receive.

“We also have appropriate health and safety procedures in place to protect our staff, which are agreed with the GMB and indicate that staff should report infestations of rats to supervisors so that proper public health measures are taken.

“In the context of over 20 million household bin collections undertaken in Glasgow every year, we receive very few reports from staff about rat infestations.

“Over the course of the past three years there have been five incidents where staff have unfortunately suffered slight injuries due to contact with rats.

“Anyone looking to the GMB for an honest assessment of the challenges facing Glasgow’s waste management system will be sorely disappointed.”