Residents across Stoke-on-Trent are having their bins left unemptied over night in a dispute regarding overtime PotteriesEYE can exclusively reveal.
Refuse crews have been telling members of the public that there “is a work to rule”.
When contacted by PotteriesEYE, Colin Griffiths of the Stafford Office of the GMB trade union completely rejected that there is any “work to rule” for Stoke’s binmen, and made no further comment. He dismissed the story as rubbish.
However, PotteriesEYE has received a copy of an email sent out to councillors who are being bombarded with complaints from residents, furious that the bins are being left overnight, citing that if residents left bins overnight on the street they face being fined.
The dispute appears to revolve around changes implemented by the council on August 1st 2012, where all contractual overtime to Waste Service drivers ceased.
Geoff Dunne, Interim Strategic Manager, Environment, Waste & Fleet, in an email claims:
crews were continually and easily completing rounds well within the nominal time every day and were actually working for less than 37 hours (in some cases significantly less) and yet being paid 42 hours
He says the change to overtime has proven extremely unpopular with the crews.
bizarrely (as only the drivers received contractual overtime) they have unofficially withdrawn their goodwill and are now taking much longer to complete their rounds, unreasonably so in most cases. This has led to a number of rounds failing to complete on the day and thus some bins will be carried over to the next day.
Mr Dunne says that he has been given assurances that all bins are being collected, albeit some the day after the scheduled collection days.
The mail in full:
Dear Councillors and colleagues,
In respect of your queries regarding bin collection days in your respective wards, please be advised as follows:
Since 1st August all contractual overtime to Waste Service drivers ceased, in line with the council wide policy change. As you know the service is task and finish, crews were continually and easily completing rounds well within the nominal time every day and were actually working for less than 37 hours (in some cases significantly less) and yet being paid 42 hours, clearly this had to stop.
However, this change has proven extremely unpopular with the crews (rather bizarrely as only the drivers received contractual overtime) and they have unofficially withdrawn their goodwill and are now taking much longer to complete their rounds, unreasonably so in most cases. This has led to a number of rounds failing to complete on the day and thus some bins will be carried over to the next day. No collection day has changed, this is simply failure to complete, bins should continue to be placed ready for collection on the normal collection day.
I am assured that all bins are being collected, most on the normal collection day and that no bin is not being collected anywhere in the City, some may however be collected a day late.
We are in discussions with the union and are hopeful of finding a resolution as quickly as we can, in the meantime we are putting on extra crews on Fridays to ensure that no round spills over into the following week, and indeed we had two crews out on Saturday last weekend as although we may have staff willing to work late, we were on annual shutdown at Hanford so waste was being tipped at Biffa which closes at 4:30 and this compounded the issue.
I very much regret the inconvenience caused to your residents, please be assured that we are doing all we can to bring a speedy resolution to matters and will update you as and when the situation evolves.
I trust you find this information useful.
Dawn Hewins, Stoke-on-Trent City Council assistant director HR and transformation, said:
“During these austere times the city council has no choice but to explore better ways of working that will deliver value for money and fairness in pay for all. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is one of several councils implementing a range of changes to services due to budget cuts. We apologise for any disruption to service whilst we bed down recent changes to working hours. We are continuing dialogue with refuse collectors and their trade unions on agreed new arrangements. We hope the situation will be resolved soon and normal service will be resumed.”