Keep Weekly Bin Collections In Sheffield

12 Jan 2012

Reducing bin collections to fortnightly could mean up to 40 job losses and could threaten feedstock for the plant that supplies heat and hot water across the city says GMB.

GMB, the union for public sector workers, accused Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of double standards as weekly wheelie bin collections are to be axed in Sheffield due to cuts in funds to the council from his department to support local services. At last year’s Tory Party conference Mr Pickles said that the Government wanted councils to collect refuse weekly and that his department would pay £250m to support this. An announcement on how £250m will be made available is expected next week.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet agreed on 11th Jan that rubbish will be collected from homes once a fortnight, rather than once a week. Free garden waste collections will end. The plans will now be brought before full council for final approval in March.  If agreed at the full council meeting weekly collections will end in April 2012. 40 jobs will be cut at Sheffield Council contractor Veolia. Savings will be £2.44m per year. The council said it will now look to ‘enhance’ recycling services but what this means has not been spelled out.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer for the refuse staff,  said: “Reducing bin collections to fortnightly could mean up to 40 job losses. The proposals were the council’s worst-kept secret. Eric Pickles stands accused of double standards. It is spending cuts imposed by his department that is forcing Sheffield to find savings. At the same time Pickles told the Tory Party conference that his Government will pay to keep weekly collections.

Sheffield burns most of its household rubbish at its incinerator which then provides all of the heating and hot water for public sector housing and buildings in the City. They need all they burn at present and this heating and hot water means the public benefit immensely from, what in real terms, is much cheaper provision. This could be threatened. At the same time there is the threat of closure to Sheffield’s house-hold recycle centres looming so we can’t assume this will not devastate actual recycle rates.”