A load of rubbish? Concerns raised over £300,000 Sunderland bin collection savings claims

Blue wheelie bins in Edwin Street, Sunderland
Blue wheelie bins in Edwin Street, Sunderland
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CLAIMS that a shake-up of bin collections will lead to a saving of £300,000 per year have been rubbished by a councillor who says the figures don’t add up.

Refuse workers now work a four-day week – but do the same hours as they did over a five-day period.

Sunderland City Council says the move, as well as operating more efficient routes, saves money as it no longer has to pay overtime to staff who work on a Saturday to catch up after a bank holiday Monday.

But with just four bank holidays this year, independent group leader Colin Wakefield says he is puzzled by how the council can save anywhere near the figure mentioned.

He said: “I’m puzzled as to how they can claim this. If they’re right, we should have done it years ago.

“I really struggle to see how the saving is that great, with the same number of bins to collect and the same number of miles to travel.”

Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services, said: “All councillors have been briefed on this. As already outlined, the move to four-day collections will start generating efficiencies and savings of around £300,000 per annum.

“This includes reduced overtime from ending Saturday collections after Bank Holiday Mondays, new staffing arrangements, plus route and vehicle efficiencies.

“The refuse collection workers, their trade union representatives and the council’s management team have co-operated to develop a new joint working agreement, which sees the employees working a longer day over four days instead of five, and less disruption for the service and inconvenience to householders after a bank holiday.

“The route and vehicle efficiencies also includes an investment in GPS monitoring and planning technology to help reduce the overall miles travelled and lower fuel bills, and this and investment in new vehicles will see maintenance costs reduced.”