Edinburgh bin jobs face axe in council cuts

Bin collections on Mondays could be scrapped
Bin collections on Mondays could be scrapped
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COUNCIL chiefs plan to scrap bin collections on Mondays with the loss of dozens of jobs under budget cuts for next year.

The proposal – part of a £21 million package of savings due to go out to consultation next week – would see city bin men move from a five-day to a four-day week, with their hours increasing from 36 to 40 per week.

The council says increased productivity would mean 36 posts could then be cut from kerbside collections.

And bin collections would only take place Tuesday-Friday. The end of Monday collections would mean the council no longer had to make triple time payments on public holidays.

Some of the money which the changes would save would be used to buy replacement bin lorries.

But almost £500,000 would be left over as a contribution to the budget savings.

The council’s finance committee will be asked to agree on Tuesday that the cuts package should go out to consultation.

The authority does not yet know how much funding it will receive from the Scottish Government for 2018/19 but is working on the assumption of a three per cent reduction.

The SNP-Labour administration plans to increase council tax by three per cent and has warned of “upwards of 100” job losses.

The proposed cut in spending on waste collection comes despite persistent problems with uncollected rubbish.

Brian Robertson, branch secretary of Unite, said the union still had to look at the detail of all the individual budget 

But he said: “We are opposed to any jobs going from the council. We have lost enough jobs. Every job is a service. We can’t take it any more.

“We’re pretty much at the point where it’s unsustainable. Stress levels are extremely high in Edinburgh council.”

He said there would have to be negotiations before any of the proposed changes were implemented.

The council said the posts to go were agency staff. But Mr Robertson said: “If agency staff have been doing these jobs for any length of time, we would be wanting them to become council posts.”

Tory finance spokesman Graham Hutchison said: “We are getting queries all the time from constituents about missed collections and when we take it up with the council we’re told the reason is down to resources.

“So to suggest a further cut in resources is baffling in terms of the council delivering any kind of quality service.

“If the issue is resources, that needs to be tackled. The proposal to trim that further does not seem to stack up with the commitment by the administration to deliver quality 

Complaints over missed bin collections have fallen, but critics claim that is partly down to problems in reporting them and residents giving up.

A council spokeswoman said: “It is no secret that the financial position for all local authorities, including Edinburgh, is still extremely challenging and we need to find £21m of savings to deliver a balanced budget for the 2018/19 financial year.

“We would encourage residents to have their say on the proposals – which is all they are at this stage – and we will take all feedback into account before agreeing the budget in February.”