Tower block staffing queried

Elvan Tower
Elvan Tower

Concerns have been raised over what appear to be changes to working practices for high rise caretakers in Motherwell.

It’s claimed that the health and safety of residents is being put at risk because staff are having to switch between towers during their shifts.

However, North Lanarkshire Council insisted it is “definitely not cutting tower caretaking posts” and the authority’s depute leader pledged to investigate any concerns over staff shortages.

Tower block safety throughout the country has been under the spotlight since the Grenfell tragedy in London earlier this year.

Shortly after that North Lanarkshire Council introduced night patrols after a review of safety measures.

However, one resident of Elvan Tower claimed a caretaker who retired in June has not been replaced and residents must share a warden with another block.

A sign on a wall explained that the duty warden was at nearby Clyde Tower and gave a phone number for residents wishing to reach him.

The concerned resident said: “The caretaking service should provide a hygienic environment for the residents, plus safety and security,

“The caretaker allocated to Elvan Tower works for only half a day before covering for any of the other towers for the rest of his shift. This results in a decline in standards of cleanliness and service around both high rise properties

“Standards are slipping and important work is not being undertaken. If the council is cutting services it should reduce rents accordingly.

“The council is neglecting the tenants by expecting one man to do the work of two men.”

A council spokesman insisted: “We continue to have 52 posts in Motherwell 26 towers and caretakers working two shifts so we have caretakers for each tower. We have definitely not cut tower caretaking posts.”

Council depute leader Paul Kelly, who represents Motherwell West, said no residents have approached him about a reduction in service.

He added: “I appreciate how important is the support residents get from caretakers and I am unaware of any changes.

“Even before Grenfell we worked continuously on the safety and modernisation of our towers and that work has gone on at added pace since the tragedy.

“It’s critical that we work with residents and others such as the fire service so that people are re-assured on safety.

“Where there are any concerns these will be addressed and I shall look into the specific issue that has been raised here to ensure that the appropriate help and support is there.”