Local government employers must issue guidance to enable refuse staff to safely provide essential services

GMB LONDON CALL ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYERS TO SPELL OUT HOW REFUSE SERVICES STAFF CAN SAFELY PROVIDE AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE WHILE MEETING SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS

Despite yesterday’s new social distancing and the lock down measures members in refuse crews are been instructed to carry on work as normal which cannot be right says GMB London

GMB London, the union for refuse service workers, has written to the Local Government Association asking them to follow up the Government latest directives with to clear guidelines to all Councils and contractors on how to implement the social distancing for staff in refuse services.

The aim should be to operate essential services in such a way that the welfare and well being of Refuse Staff is not compromised whilst waste collection services to the public are safely maintained during the current public health emergency.

Keith Williams GMB Senior Organiser said ” Despite the governments directive regarding social distancing and the lock down measures that came into effect yesterday evening, GMB have been advised that Refuse crews are been instructed to carry on work as normal. This cannot be right.

The effects of this is that employees are expected to go out in cabs that are inadequate for compliance with social distancing. Further, employees are not been provided with daily masks and anti viral hand gel.

As GMB understands it the Government Directive on social distancing to prevent the spread of the COVID -19 pandemic is unequivocally clear that we should all keep two meters apart and only two people should be together unless they are living in the same household.

GMB recognise the collection of refuse is essential in these times. In the light of this and to avoid any disruption of the service, GMB call on Local Government Association and local authorities to put immediate measures in place with their waste management service providers to protect the well being and welfare of our members which recognise the immediate threat our members are facing.

Refuse is not a role that can be carried out at home. So refuse contractors and Local Authority Clients have a responsibility to minimise risk during this unprecedented pandemic. It is essential that they should be working collaboratively with GMB to look at options to ensure that refuse workers are not taken for granted. They need to be shown the same level of respect and regard as all other Local Government and critical workers at this moment in time,”

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