Friday, January 07, 2011

Update on refuse strike – Friday 7th January

Below is a briefing note sent today to all Councillors, providing background on the present industrial action.

As you will see in this briefing note below we have in the last week increased the number of ‘casual’ crews from 19 to 30. The present number of permanent crews is 40.

The casual crews will be working over the weekend to clear all black bin bags from the streets of Birmingham by Sunday evening.

I will be providing regular updates to the Waste Management team over the weekend as to what roads need collecting in Moseley and Kings Heath Ward. Please feel free to forward any information to me if your road has not been collected by Saturday evening, OR has just been collected, so I can mark it off my list.

If you are aware of any elderly residents who can not get their bin bags to the pavement, please let me know. Either myself or the casual crew will arrange to get their bin bags to the pavement.

The briefing note is as follows:

Fleet and Waste Management Industrial Dispute
Members Briefing 7th January 2011

1. Recovery Plan.

1.1 Against a background of severe weather, seasonal waste and industrial action Fleet and Waste Management developed a plan to deal with the build up and backlog of waste in the City. This involves:

· Fleet and Waste Management working towards a situation where by the close of play at the weekend, every household will have had at least one collection since Christmas, and the normal collection services will resume on the Monday, supported by the casual crew dealing with the impact of the ongoing industrial action by picking up any uncollected waste the following day.

· The Councils permanent employees on normal working days should be completing scheduled work - any waste uncollected, due to volume and industrial action will be collected as soon as possible, by casual crews. In the event that the permanent workforce, do not perform their expected duties in full, a reduction of pay is being made to reflect the work actually done.

· The casual workforce has been collecting black bags since Monday 27th December 2010 and their productivity has been good compared with the regular crews who are on a go slow and being selective about what they leave undone. Work is ongoing to increase the casual workforce, and the Council can now deploy up to 30 vehicles and crews this weekend.

· Where legal to do so a range of contractors have been employed particularly Skip Hire Vehicles to Remove black bags from high and low rise flats from 30th December 2010.

· Where practicable agency staff crews have been formed to separate them from regular crews who are involved in industrial action and not completing scheduled work.

· Staff from other services within the Council are co-operating by identifying missed work. This weekend will see a significant deployment of Housing, Parks and Highways staff to assist in the clear up work.

1.2 The amount of waste collected so far, since Christmas is now broadly comparable with the amount of waste collected for a similar period last year, when there was no industrial action and bank holidays were worked.

1.3 The Trade Unions have announced further strikes on the 13th and 14th January 2011, we have to be prepared for the possibility that sickness levels will continue to rise and the workforce will become more uncooperative, and attempt to leave more waste out on each of the days they do actually provide a collection service.

1.4 The casual workforce will continue to operate for the duration of the industrial action.

1.5 Please note that agency staff on street cleansing have been used to collect fly tipped rubbish but for legal reasons we are not using them to provide cover for the regular refuse collection work.


Impact of the Action.

The Strike action on the 20th December was intended to impact upon collection services delivered on Monday 20th December and when followed by the overtime ban for the two succeeding bank holiday Mondays, to ensure that there would be no collection for those residents who normally receive a collection on a Monday until the 10th January 2011.

The overtime ban was also intended to prevent any collections on Tuesday the 28th December 2010.

The work to rule and overtime ban has meant that because many staff in Fleet and Waste Management work a 5fth shift on their rest days that this would reduce the available workforce by 20%. This action has an equivalent impact to a full one day strike per week.

Furthermore as part of the work to rule, it is clear that the workforce are not performing their full range of duties, and in fact are effectively operating a ‘Go Slow’. Furthermore the level of absenteeism has almost doubled since the start of the work to rule, and this is having an impact on the amount of waste being collected by the regular crews. The result of this is that the amount of waste collected by the regular workforce is considerably less than can be reasonably expected, and is having almost as much impact as an additional days strike action.

Severe Weather and seasonal waste

The severe weather impacted from 18th – 27th December and significantly affected some collection rounds and in common with other Authorities very little waste being collected across all 5 days before Christmas. The Council was only able to access main roads, due to the compacted snow and ice, and the difficulties of driving 26 tonne vehicles slow moving through narrow streets.

The Christmas period sees an annual increase in waste of 30%; this is normally dealt with via offers of overtime payments to the crews and bank holiday working. This offer of bank holiday working would have seen crews earn triple time (Circa £30 per hour) plus 3 hours overtime per day for two weeks. This offer was refused by regular crews. Therefore those residents due a bank holiday collection did not receive one from the regular crews.


At 6:10 PM, Blogger wockley said...

Thank you Martin for communicating the info' to us.
However, as in 2009 when our rubbish collection fell during the holidays we in Westfield Road had to wait approx 2weeks for collection. Last yr-2010 was the worset yet. The City Council Dept of Environment didn't communicate any dates when rubbish might/would bve collected over, during or after the holiday. Consequently some residents put their rubbish ou for collection as usual. Then we had the snow & the trucks were unabel to collect post holiday. I guiess that the same build up of rubbish will occur again in 2011 when the holiday falls at the w/e. (plz may there be no snow!)
as it stands now Martin we in Westfield Rd (B14)haven't had any glass, plastics or tin recycles collected for 8 weeks-up to the next collection in 2/52. I'm taking mine to Lifford Ln tip but the situation is unacceptable really.
I support the binmen in their dispute incidently.
Happy New Yr Martin
Paul Woolley Westfield Rd B14 7SU


Post a Comment

<< Home