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GGCA flags MasterService concerns amid cleaning backlash

Local union GGCA has flagged the working conditions of MasterService employees amid criticism over the state of Gibraltar’s public spaces.
The white collar union, in representation of its MasterService membership, was responding to comments that have been made on social media and in the press over the issue, including by Independent MP Lawrence Llamas.
Mr Llamas has been documenting areas in need of cleaning as part of a campaign to bring about change and encourage people to have more civic pride.
He has posted videos and tweeted images of dirty public areas with the hashtag #AquiNoSeLimpia.
In a statement the GGCA flagged the conditions and the environment in which its members are currently working.
“They can only maintain standards of cleanliness commensurate with the resources that they are given,” the union said.
“It is inconceivable that a drastic reduction in resources will not result in reduced standards of cleanliness, in spite of the best efforts made by our members to keep Gibraltar clean.”
The union explained that due to lower manning levels on the beach routes, namely Eastern Beach, Catalan Bay, Camp Bay and Western Beach, the working hours of all beach cleaners have been drastically reduced.
Previously, beach cleaners worked from 7am to 12pm and from 8pm to 9pm.
They now work from 7am to 10am, which is a reduction of 14 hours per week per worker, the GGCA claimed.
In addition, the number of workers per beach has been reduced – from four to two workers in Eastern Beach, from three to two workers in Camp Bay, and from one beach cleaner to no cleaner in Western Beach.
Flushing levels have also drastically reduced, the GGCA said, adding that Eastern Beach used to be flushed daily but there is now no flushing at all.
Similarly, Catalan Bay was flushed four times a week and now there is no flushing at all.
Camp Bay used to be flushed daily with three machines – it is now flushed twice a week with two machines.
Western Beach is now cleaned by the van driver who is tasked with replacing supplies in all beaches.
Previously, this van was manned by two workers, but now the second worker is removed from the other beach routes, leaving one of the beaches one man down.
Indeed, whereas previously the three high pressure water machines for flushing were manned by six workers, they are now manned by three men.
The GGCA said this raises health and safety concerns, as well as impeding effective and efficient cleaning, particularly in view of the fact that only one of the high pressure water machines has hot water.
“Due to the staff shortages, it is no longer possible to use the rotor wash adapters on these machines, as this is too time consuming, even though it is the best way to achieve clean public areas,” the GGCA said.
It added that the MasterService workforce is not only suffering from reduced human resources, but also insufficient equipment and supplies.
There have been shortages of gloves, bin liners, brooms and pans and uniform issue shoes in the past two to three months, the GGCA claimed.
“We can categorically state that the MasterService workforce has worked tirelessly in pursuit of public hygiene for the last 18 years and that they continue to do so today.”
“The GGCA Committee and our MasterService Section Reps were due to meet with the Chief Minister and Minister Cortes today regarding this matter, but our meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday August 31, 2017.”
“We look forward to meeting with them to raise these matters and other concerns on behalf of our membership.”

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