Grass cutting appears to have been restarted after the lockdown.

By Democrat reporter

Trade union official Sean Davenport started a turf war on social media last night when he welcomed the return of grass cutting on verges and open spaces in West Dunbartonshire.

Sean, who is a rep for UNISON,  wrote: “Fantastic to see the council grass cutters back out and about. Don’t envy the task the guys have ahead given how long the grass has got, but I’m sure they’ll do a great job and help get the place looking a lot better again.”

But Sharon McIver wasn’t one bit pleased. She replied: “Well, Nicola Sturgeon just announced yesterday that next week she would look at outdoor jobs getting started up again. So grass cutting really shouldn’t be getting done at the moment. I know it needs done but that’s not the point… That’s the council ignoring the government.”

Sean attempted to take the heat out of things – “I think when she refers to outdoor work it’s more focused on things like the construction industry in the private sector.

“I don’t think the council are ignoring the government either as they’ll be in regular dialogue through COSLA [Convention of Scottish Local Authorities] about what services are being reintroduced and so on.”

But Sharon was adamant: “Well, the message is still stay at home unless it’s an essential job…. Just saying… I for one want people to be doing the right thing… I’m shielding till mid July and am terrified of what it’s going to be like if people just keep doing as they please.”

She added: “The message has always been if you can safely work, which means maintaining social distancing etiquette and wear PPE then you are safe to work outdoors.”

Stephen Neeson chipped in: “I work in Greenspace and I know the guys are putting these protocols into effect when working.”

Still, however Sharon wasn’t content with what was happening. She said: “Stephen Neeson, the point is outdoor work has not been cleared by the government.

“I am just trying to point out that people/employers are doing their own thing. Which is not correct in the circumstances we are in.”

She added: “The council have been very careful on this and I can assure you risk assessments and safe systems of work have been put in place before anyone goes out to work.”

Caz Barr asked: “What risk is there to council staff cutting the grass? They don’t come into contact with anyone on those ride along grass cutters.

“My relative was told to get back to work even though she’s diabetic and has heart disease and she’s working inside with other staff.”

Sharon McIver said: “I’m making a point [here]. This is not an essential job… As, a lot aren’t… All these people are humans too, doesn’t mean just cos your employer tells you to go back that you go, especially if it’s non essential work.”

Caz asked: “What risk is there to council staff cutting the grass? They don’t come into contact with anyone on those ride along grass cutters.
“No it’s not essential but it’s a job that can be done because they don’t need to be in close contact with other people. Council staff are being made to take up other jobs to get them in working.
“I am not denying that it’s a non essential job, but the Council are making people with medical conditions come back to work and doing jobs that aren’t  theirs just to get them in doing something. “
Sharon McIver said: “If their job is non essential, I may be wrong here, but if non essential and they were initially sent home from work in March.
“If their job is still non essential and if they’re asked to go back in they should be saying no. They should not be ‘made’ to go back.”

Cllr Jonathan McColl, who appears to be missing from his post as council leader,  refused to clear the matter up for readers of The Democrat, but Duncan McKerracher stated: “The grass has been getting cut in the cemeteries for weeks due to safety issues

“So now the grass is getting cut in the parks like Levengrove, I would also say that’s a safety issue because dog walkers where having trouble picking up the dog mess.”dog mess.”
Council spokespersons refused to confirm or deny if grass cutting had resumed and to what extent or to comment on whether or not they were breaking the lockdown rules which apply during the pandemic.
A post on the SNP councillors’ website says the grass cutting has started and that perennial flowers are due to be planted next claims that Labour are being economical with the truth trying to play politics with the issue.

One comment

  1. Given the nature of grass cutting being an open air activity that typically is performed by a solo worker there should be no restriction whatsoever on undertaking this essential work. In fact all of the housing associations in our are, and indeed other councils out-with our area, have been undertaking outdoor grass cutting in open areas. It’s our Council that haven’t been cutting the grass.

    The problem of course is that for some, being laid off on full pay, gives no incentive whatsoever for some folks to undertake work.

    Thankfully, not everyone is like Sharon who has it seems decided to shield herself until mid July.

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