A Cambridgeshire council has put the proverbial two fingers up to a Government minister and extended – rather than halted – its foray into four-day week working.
South Cambridgeshire District Council has decided its refuse collectors deserve the same treatment as many of its white-collar workers.
And in an act of defiance to the local government minister Lee Rowley, they will move to a four-day week.
Mr Rowley wrote to council leader Bridget Smith last month to “ask that you end your experiment immediately”.
But Cllr Smith, and her South Cambs councillor colleagues, politely declined.
And from next month refuse collections will take place across four days instead of five with no loss of pay for the workers.
South Cambridgeshire is not the first local authority to collect bins over four days (45 others do including Peterborough and Ipswich) but these achieve it by working longer hours.
“We are doing it differently in order to achieve benefits for staff and thereby increase staff retention and reduce agency costs,” says a council statement.
“We have tested many of the routes beforehand to make sure the crews can complete the work in the allocated time. These have been successful, and we will continue to monitor them.”
The decision will affect 80 per cent of the 104,000 households across not only South Cambridgeshire but Cambridge City, too, since both local authorities operate a joint service.
New bin collection arrangements will be introduced from the week beginning Monday 18 September 2023.
Greater Cambridge Shared Waste, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, is sending a letter in the post to every household affected which will confirm their new collection arrangements.
Bin collections will not change for any resident who does not receive a letter.
Residents of Cambridge City can check their bin collection dates online and South Cambridgeshire residents can check online too. There will also be reminders on the councils’ social media channels and websites.
The council statement says: “The changes follow a review of bin rounds which are typically completed by all councils every few years.
“This takes into account new homes that have been built across the area and ensures bin collection rounds continue to be spread as evenly and efficiently as possible.
“The councils are also moving to collect bins over four weekdays, instead of five.
“This means that, from the week beginning Monday 18 September, household bins will not be collected on a Monday.
“One benefit of this is that it avoids the disruption to collections that has previously happened after bank holiday Mondays throughout the year as crews catch-up.”
The frequency of bin collections will remain fortnightly with bins emptied on alternative weeks.
Initially, some residents have been advised that they may find they have two consecutive weeks of the same colour bins being emptied as the new schedule is introduced. After that, all residents will continue to have their black bin emptied one week and their blue and green bins the other.
Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for Climate Action and Environment at Cambridge City Council, said: “We want to make sure that we deliver services in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
“Reviewing the current collections allows us to do that whilst allowing the bin crews to partake in the four-day week trial.”
Cllr Henry Batchelor, lead Cabinet member for Environmental Services at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We have carefully considered how routes operate as we continue to replace our older diesel trucks with new electric ones and those powered by alternative fuels, such as biofuels.
“Additionally, only collecting bins over four days will mean an end to having to remember how bin days are affected by the many bank holidays that fall on a Monday through the year.”
Cambridge City Council’s Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee gave their backing to the same programme of work at their meeting on Monday 3 July 2023.
You can check your new bin collection dates for week beginning 18 September.
The usual bin calendar will show your collection dates up until Friday 15 September.
The councils advises residents to remember that if there is a change to their bin collections, they will write to you in advance to notify you. You can also check the temporary bin calendar.
“If your bin is missed, you can still report this on our website. Make sure to wait until 3:30pm on the day of the new collection day to report it if it has not been emptied,” added the statement.
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