GOVANHILL residents have come out in support of striking cleansing workers by joining the GMB Scotland picket line.

Nearly 1000 council cleansing staff walked out last Monday in a dispute over pay and working conditions in a strike expected to last until Tuesday.

On Saturday morning around 50 locals and members of Living Rent Govanhill stood shoulder to shoulder with binmen at Polmadie Recycling Centre.

They were moved to action by suggestions Glasgow City Council planned to hire private refuse contractors to break the strike.

But council bosses said new private contractors had not been used but the authority did, in one instance, use an existing contractor.

Govanhill resident and member of Living Rent’s Govanhill branch Ruth Gilbert added: "As residents we need Glasgow City Council to bring an end to this strike and the problems it has brought to our streets.

Glasgow Times: Govanhill supports the bin strikes

"But that has to be achieved by a negotiating a fair wage for our essential workers - not by crushing their industrial action with private contractors.

"Beyond worker pay, as residents we needs to see wholesale investment in our cleansing service, which for years has been understaffed and under resourced."

Living Rent, Scotland’s tenants union, and GMB cleansing workers have been running a cross-union campaign demanding greater investment in Glasgow’s cleansing services since December last year.

They are demanding better pay for cleansing workers, a reversal of the newly-introduced bulk uplift charge, 100 new full time refuse workers, 100 new full time street sweepers and a return of the backcourt teams.

Beatrice Onashile, Govanhill resident and member of Living Rent’s Govanhill branch, said: "Living Rent wholly condemns the strikebreaking tactics from Glasgow City Council in employing scab labour to undermine their workers’ industrial action.

Glasgow Times: Govanhill supports the bin strikes

"Bringing in other workers to do the job of striking workers is a tactic to weaken striking workers in their demands for fair pay.

"Glasgow City Council must get around the negotiating table with the GMB, and with Living Rent, to find the lasting solutions the city badly needs.

"Glasgow needs far more than a spruce up.

"The long term waste crisis must be addressed."

As part of its ongoing campaign, Living Rent branches across the city brought bags of rubbish to Glasgow City Chambers in a hard hitting demonstration of what it has dubbed a "waste crisis".

Council leader Susan Aitken agreed on October 28 to a meeting with Living Rent representatives to discuss solutions but 10 days later there is still no date set for the meeting.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: "The Leader of the Council has agreed to meet Living Rent and a meeting will be arranged in due course.

"We have been able to manage the cleansing service, including essential measures for public safety, using workers who are not on strike and, other than one instance where we used an existing contractor to transfer waste, we have not had to use contractors."

GMB Cleansing Convener Chris Mitchell said: "Glasgow’s cleansing workers would like to thank Govanhill residents for the amazing support and solidarity they have shown throughout this strike. "It’s clear that the workers and residents of this city are totally united in demanding investment from Glasgow City Council."