GMB Warns: Safety And Rights Of Public Servants Must Not Be Compromised During Cold Front
GMB Scotland has this afternoon (Thursday 1 March) written to the Scottish Government urging them to ensure that local authorities across the country keep their employees safe as the challenging weather conditions of the last forty-eight hours look set to continue into the weekend.
GMB says a common sense balance needs to be struck between service delivery, particularly for vulnerable members of the public, and ensuring that the safety and employment rights of some of the lowest paid in our public sector are not abused by their employers.
The call comes after the trade union was inundated with calls from concerned members in council services who were forced to attend work and undertake service journeys in 'red warning' weather conditions which Police Scotland and the Scottish Government has urged against.
Do not travel warnings are scheduled to remain in place over the next twenty-four hours.
GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Drew Duffy said: “The weather conditions have badly exposed some shocking employment rights abuses including unreasonable expectations and pressures on some of the lowest-paid workers - many of whom are women - in our public services.
We have been providing advice and support to members delivering the likes of home care, roads maintenance and refuse services across the country and the treatment of some staff by their managers has been scandalous.
We’re talking about carers being ordered to make home visits, using their own money and vehicles to reach service users and then being stranded in conditions which Police Scotland and the Scottish Government have said are unsafe.
Unfortunately we have had to press employers to ensure that our members will not be forced into detriment if they are unable to attend their work or can’t fulfil their duties - there is a real feeling that workers delivering local services are being ignored when it comes to safety.
Let's also be clear that the majority of these workers have suffered a decade of cuts to their pay and services - it's not just thanks they should be receiving but the proper recognition and reward for their work and skills.
Again, we would urge any member who has faced difficulties to contact us if they feel their employment rights are being breached or if they feel their personal safety is being compromised in any way.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Drew Duffy on 07912 560806 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077
Letter from Drew Duffy, GMB Scotland Senior Organiser for Public Services to Keith Brown MSP