Thursday, 2 April 2020

Glasgow's Unsung Essential Workers


I take my hat off to Glasgow refuse workers who came to the rescue of our bin store the other day, as it threatened to become a huge problem for local residents in this little part of the city centre.

Without the rapid response of the refuse crew the bin store would have become a horrible mess and a 'no go' area, as well as a real health hazard for everyone living in these buildings.

Which just goes to prove that during these days of lockdown and Coronavirus there are lots of 'unsung' essential workers who are out there every day ensuring that civil society doesn't collapse including: 

  • Refuse Workers
  • Home Carers
  • Residential Care Staff
  • Childcare Staff
  • Clerical Workers 
  • Technicians 
  • Farm Workers
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Post Office Staff
  • Supermarket Staff
  • Grocery Store Workers
  • Pharmacy Staff
  • Support Workers in local communities
  • Water, Gas, Electricity and other Utility Workers
  • Police and Firefighters
  • Nurses, Doctors and all other Health Care Staff 
  • The Armed Forces

   

Respect, Glasgow! (24/10/18)



The Herald reports that every refuse worker in Glasgow City Council walked out yesterday in support of their women colleagues who are fighting for equal pay.

The refuse workers refused to cross the strikers picket lines in a show of solidity and John O'Connor, GMB rep for the city's refuse workers, said: 


"We all know about the equal pay strikes today and tomorrow.

"As cleansing operatives we came into work this morning to go about our normal business and present ourselves for work, but we didn't want to cross a picket as we are in total support of the women.

"Management came into our canteen and read out an official statement from the council stating that if we didn't go to work there'd be disciplinary action taken against us. "They basically said if you don't cross picket lines and go to work you won't be getting paid. In support of the women the guys in cleaning came out to support them wholeheartedly in the fight for justice.

"I believe it is shameful the way they've acted towards the women and the cohesion and communication, going back to local management, just isn't there. It's embarrassing."

I understand that these workers were threatened with disciplinary action and potentially the 'sack' for taking such action, but they refused to be intimidated by council management and stood their ground.

So the question is, "Who gave the instruction about taking disciplinary action - was this from senior bosses at the top of the Council or from the Council's political leadership?"

In any event, it takes real courage to stand up in these situations and I take off my hat to Glasgow's refuse workers for their show of support and solidarity. 


   

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17002039.glasgows-male-refuse-workers-walk-out-in-solidarity-with-equal-pay-women/

Glasgow's male refuse workers walk out in solidarity with equal pay women

By Catriona Stewart - The Herald



EVERY refuse worker in the city has walked out in solidarity with Glasgow's equal pay women.

Men attended work this morning at nine depots around Glasgow but refused to cross picket lines, downing tools and walking out.

The Evening Times had told yesterday how Glasgow City Council threatened refuse workers with disciplinary action should they protest.

Last night the council withdrew the threat and today a spokesman said there would be no disciplinary action taken against the men but they will be docked a day's pay..

He added: "We are disappointed that staff chose to take this course of action today and we would be asking the GMB to ask their members to return to work as usual tomorrow."

John O'Connor, GMB rep for the city's refuse workers, said: "We all know about the equal pay strikes today and tomorrow.

"As cleansing operatives we came into work this morning to go about our normal business and present ourselves for work, but we didn't want to cross a picket as we are in total support of the women.

"Management came into our canteen and read out an official statement from the council stating that if we didn't go to work there'd be disciplinary action taken against us. "They basically said if you don't cross picket lines and go to work you won't be getting paid. In support of the women the guys in cleaning came out to support them wholeheartedly in the fight for justice.

"I believe it is shameful the way they've acted towards the women and the cohesion and communication, going back to local management, just isn't there. It's embarrassing."

A council insider said it seemed unlikely that the mass action was not coordinated.

They said that if the men's action had been influenced by their union then that would be unlawful.

However, Rhea Wolfson, spokeswoman for the GMB, strongly refuted any suggestion that the union had asked refuse workers to walk out.

She said: "The cleansing workers feel great solidarity with their female colleagues.

"Refuse workers attended work this morning as usual and asked for alternative duties that meant they would not be crossing the picket line.

"This option was not taken up by the council and so the men decided to walk out and join picket lines.

"The refuse workers are a strong, strong trade union group and they know what it is like to need solidarity from people across the city."

Ms Wolfson said the solidarity shown by the men will be repeated tomorrow.

She said: "We have not yet been approached by Glasgow City Council about this but are more than happy to speak to them about the situation.



Essential Workers and Covid-19 (19/03/20)



Now it's not a popularity contest, but it's worth pointing out that the recognised list of 'essential workers' has grown arms and legs as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic. 

Doctors, nurses and healthcare staff have always been in the front line during a public health emergency although you can now add many others working in:

  • food, retail and transport
  • childcare - both pre-school and school-based 
  • home care and residential care
  • firefighters and police
  • support workers in the community
  • water, gas, electricity and other utilities
  • refuse and street cleaning 
With thanks to my good friend John who gave a 'shout out' to Grocery Store Employees and Truck Drivers all the way from the sunshine state of California.