Union calls for '˜proper consultation' into Adur and Worthing weekly refuse collection proposals

The Unison branch in Adur and Worthing has called on the councils to '˜properly consult and take on board' the views of staff and residents regarding proposals to scrap weekly refuse collections.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 4:11 pm
Refuse collectors at the launch of the new fleet of waste collection vehicles

Weekly refuse collections could be scrapped from September, 2019, if a proposal is approved by Adur and Worthing councils cabinet members tonight.

The proposal would see refuse collected one week, with recycling waste collected the next as part of an alternate-weekly schedule.

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In a statement released today, the Adur and Worthing Unison branch said it was ‘surprised’ to hear about the proposals last week without prior notice ‘following previous assurances that weekly collections would be maintained’.

A spokesman said: “As the union representing all staff here, including refuse workers, we would normally expect staff and the union to be consulted in advance about such a potentially major change to our members’ work situation.

“We welcome the Councils’ statement that no compulsory redundancies would result.

“However, from the limited information provided so far, there are significant concerns among our members regarding workload, working patterns, safety and suitability of current equipment, and being able to continue providing the most effective service to local residents.”

The councils said pressure to dramatically increase recycling rates was behind the potential move away from its long-standing support for weekly refuse collections.

Government targets mean councils need to have recycling rates of at least 50 per cent by 2020 – the area currently recycles just 36 per cent.

The Unison spokesman said: “The branch is also surprised at the councils’ assertion that fortnightly collections are aimed at driving up recycling rates rather than simply saving money, given the whole Recycling and Compliance team of six staff were made redundant only in August 2018, a move the branch opposed.

“This was the team that had very successfully delivered the last major change to waste collection, and had done great work in promoting recycling and working with our communities on the issue.

“We call on the councils to properly consult and take on board the views of both staff and residents, and provide greater details of the rationale and potential impact of these proposals, before taking such a major decision.”

Many Herald readers have raised concerned over the proposals, which they feared could lead to increase in vermin and unmanageable levels of waste.

A Herald poll launched yesterday has already gathered more than 1,100 votes – with a total of 86 per cent have said ‘no’ to the councils’ plans so far.

The issue is due to be discussed at the councils’ Joint Strategic Committee tonight.