Saturday, December 17, 2005

There's been a big fuss in Sandwell over the last couple of weeks. According to Council sources (and the media), we have allegedly offered the Council's refuse collectors an additional payment of £900 to work on three Christmas and New Year Bank Holidays to prevent a backlog of rubbish building up. They have (allegedly) refused and asked for £1300. You can probably gather from the above that I have not been closely involved in this fiasco. Well, the local (and national) media have had a field day with lurid stories of "greedy binmen" holding the council to ransom and editorials with hints to residents to withhold their traditional Christmas Box for the refuse collectors. I've only one contribution to make on this subject. Why do we want them to work on Bank Holidays anyway? I know the attempt to get them to work was a genuine attempt to help dispose of the even larger mountains of rubbish and wrapping which accumulate over the holiday... but it is not beyond the wit and wisdom of Sandwell residents to hang on to their rubbish a bit longer over a holiday period, surely? We might even encourage a few more people to get down to the Tip and the Bottle Banks and recycle more of their waste. Give the refuse collectors a decent holiday with their friends (if the poor buggers have still got any) and families, bung them a bit extra for taking away the extra stuff after the holiday, and maybe everyone could start off the new year on a more constructive footing. Oh, and by the way, negotiations like this are much better conducted without involving journalists, "greedy" or otherwise, in search of a scoop or some scandal to rake over.