Following Scotland’s First Minister’s announcement that recycling centres will be reopening from 1 June, Unite has been engaged with CoSLA to secure safe working practices for all members.
Unite was disappointed to learn that a body – without a voice for the workers – had already been meeting and determining the best way to reopen the centres. This is unacceptable as Unite believes that this body has not examined the real challenges workers will face in practice.
Unite has called for a real and practical national framework to be developed across all local authorities which will be meaningful and properly protects workers and service users. Already there are different proposals across the Authorities such as types and amount of waste allowed, ID checks for users, restrictions on vehicle types and restrictions on number of cars permitted to queue, to name a few. As a result, Unite believes that there will be significant health and safety threats to members working in recycling centres when they reopen and until such times as an agreed framework and a local plan is in place, centres should remain closed.
This national framework needs to address:
- New and agreed (with Trade Union Reps) Risk Assessments in each centre
- Additional Resources required to meet the demand
- Appropriate PPE identified and supplied
- Level of involvement required from Police Scotland and Traffic Police
- Review of remuneration for these key workers
- Safety of workers and service users
- A robust communications strategy for all Unite absolutely recognises that communities will be preparing for the reopening of these centres however the amount of conflict this could generate will leave all disadvantaged, particularly if the centre has to close again on safety grounds.
The law states that you have the right to remove yourself from the risk of serious or imminent danger. If you believe you are being put in this position you are entitled to move to a place of safety while remaining on site and at work, raise the issue immediately with your manager and Unite.
Unite will support you.