Union: greenkeepers are not essential during corona virus

Caird Park greenkeepers are upset about being forced to continue with “hazardous” non-essential duties despite colleagues testing positive for coronavirus.

Union bosses representing the greenkeepers and groundsmen at Caird Park claimed they were “raging” at being asked to continue to work after two of their number have been confirmed as having the virus and a third is self-isolating due to having symptoms.

Jim Cunningham, the union’s Dundee branch secretary of the GMB, said greenkeepers and groundsman at the course were increasingly anxious about continuing to work following the confirmation of the cases.

Jim said: “Following the confirmation of the cases the remaining staff feel they shouldn’t be asked to go into work. The union is backing this call and we are demanding that our members should not have to go to work in the meantime. We have asked that the remaining workforce is currently removed from such  hazardous duties.”

Jim added: “We have been told that golf courses must be maintained so that when the current crisis is over they can immediately come back into use. However, we don’t believe that the greenkeepers and groundsman are essential staff currently. City council gardeners are not working at the moment and we don’t think our members should have to either.”

Jim also claimed that workers had also not been supplied with suitable personal protective equipment, but were being forced to share vans and had to use the same buckie for breaks.

He explained that the golf course was currently closed to the public and that  flags had been removed and holes filled with sand to prevent people using it. However he added that some golfers had been seen on the course and were taking their own flags with them. Greenkeepers at Dundee’s municipal golf courses are employed by ID Verde who took over the maintenance from Leisure and Culture Dundee two years ago.

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