Glasgow Council blame Thatcher for bin crisis
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Scottish Government unions have issued notices of industrial action to local authorities across the country as up to 200,000 council workers are set to strike during COP26. A new pay offer has been issued to unions on Friday, but if it is not accepted strikes will begin on Monday.
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour Party leader, urged the First Minister on Thursday to join him in meeting workers in an attempt to avert industrial action.
He claimed that she had allowed the city to become filthy, and added: “Tonnes of waste piling up on our streets, fly-tipping on the rise and over a million rats.
“Glasgow deserves better.”
Ms Sturgeon declined Mr Sarwar’s offer, with the Scottish Labour leader saying the First Minister is “out of touch”.
At FMQs on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon accused Mr Sarwar of exploiting the situation for political purposes.
She said: “I don’t shy away from the problems and the challenges that cities like Glasgow – Glasgow is not unique here – face in the times that we live through right now.
“But nor will I stand here and allow Glasgow, one of the greatest cities in the world, to be talked down for political purposes in the way that Anas Sarwar has disgracefully been doing in recent times.”
Speaking on Friday after being shown fly-tipped rubbish near the site of the COP26, Mr Sarwar responded: “I think that language is not consistent with lived experiences that people have in Glasgow every day, or the experiences of cleansing workers.
“And I think, frankly, she doesn’t live in the real world.
“I think it’s arrogant, I think it’s out of touch and it doesn’t recognise the scale of the challenge.”
“We want this to showcase our city but you can’t showcase the city while you’ve got an environmental crisis at the same time.
“You can’t showcase the city while there’s 1.3 million rats in our city. We can’t showcase our city where you’ve got workers in disputes, threatening strikes.”
Asked if he was damaging the city’s reputation, Mr Sarwar said: “Glasgow is the greatest city on earth. I am proud to be born in Glasgow, be brought up in Glasgow, and champion Glasgow.
“But for years, we have rightly confronted the fact that we have disproportionate levels of poverty and inequality in our city.
“We don’t say that’s talking down, but it’s recognising the situation we face.
“We want this summit to be a success, but we want a legacy from the summit. “And that legacy from this summit has to be – yes, meeting our global obligation – but the legacy of the summit also has to be meeting our local obligation.
“If we can’t meet a simple obligation of people’s rubbish being collected, for them to live in safe, secure and clean environments and not have rats running about the streets, then I’m sorry – that’s frankly letting them down and I’m not willing to let that happen.”
Chris Mitchell, the GMB convener for refuse and cleansing, told said there were increasing rubbish, debris and rats in Glasgow streets because of “horrendous cuts to the cleansing budget”.
He added: “We just don’t have enough staff to actually do the job now.
“We had 800 road sweepers, but we’re down to 230 to manually clean this city.
“If you include mechanical sweepers, it comes to about 400. It’s just not enough.
“We need 100 more road sweepers, 100 refuse collectors and a whole review of this service to get this city in the good state of sanitation it should be in.”
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