Roads And Waste Workers “Forced To Strike” In West Lothian Council
West Lothian Council is to push ahead with plans to implement random drug and alcohol testing of some employees, following a meeting of the Council’s Partnership & Resources Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel on Friday 7 February.
The new policy would introduce a two-tier system, where employees in roles deemed “safety critical”, such as those requiring the use of heavy machinery or with a requirement to drive Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), would be targeted for random testing. The employees affected are predominantly employed in West Lothian Council’s Roads and Waste services, as well as some PSV drivers in Community Transport.
In contrast, employees outside of these roles would only be tested if the manager has “reasonable cause” to suspect that an employee is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work.
GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway said:
“Throughout this consultation, our union has asked the council to justify the introduction of an intrusive and targeted drug and alcohol policy that would make West Lothian Council the most heavy-handed employer in all of Scottish local government.
“That justification has never been given to us, and as a result our members have returned a strong mandate for industrial action.
“Issues of substance misuse should be handled sensitively by competent and effective management, and the further training for management contained in the new policy is to be welcomed to facilitate this.
“We have accepted that the council should be able to test any employee if the Council have “reasonable cause” to believe the employee is presenting to work under the influence.
“But if the council pushes ahead with random testing, a disproportionate policy that singles out mainly waste workers, we’ll be forced to take strike action that will disrupt bin collections across West Lothian”.
Contact: Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077 or GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway on 07855 017842.