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Redbridge bin man claims poor funding and employee support are pushing the service to breaking point

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 12 April 2018

Rubbish collectors in central London. Photo: PA.

Rubbish collectors in central London. Photo: PA.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The borough’s bin men are being “run into the ground” by cuts to the service and poor management by an external contractor, according to a whistleblower.

Last week, a Redbridge bin man who wished to remain anonymous told the Recorder that, since it was announced Redbridge Council was bringing rubbish collection back in-house when the current contract expires in August 2019, working conditions have declined rapidly.

Currently, staff for household waste, fly tipping collection and the council’s free bulky waste service is supplied by the outsourcing firm Amey.

The bin man claimed that, in the aftermath of the Easter weekend two weeks ago, fewer staff were deployed into the borough – despite bosses knowing there were more than 15 Redbridge streets whose rubbish had not been collected on time.

He said: “Our supervisor came in and told us that we had to be out on the streets without a break from when our shift started at 8am until 4pm – with only a short break for lunch.

“My team must have collected 10 tonnes more rubbish than we’re normally expected to, and we’re still running behind and leaving scheduled roads untouched.”

He also claimed that, due to the backlog, some members of staff had been harassed by residents while out on rounds.

“One guy I work with got shouted at for refusing to pick up rubbish that foxes had got at – it was all over this woman’s garden and she was really going at him, saying. ‘you’re the ones that left it here overnight, you should pick it up’.

“Stuff like that is happening more and more because of how behind schedule we’re getting, and the worst part is that we just have to take it.

“If we try and explain that it’s not our fault, they can claim we’re being aggressive and that’s our job gone.”

A Redbridge Council spokeswoman could not respond to speculation about Amey’s working practices, but said refuse collections were now back on schedule across the borough.

She said: “Following the Easter weekend, our contractors worked throughout the week to catch up with collections by Saturday. Our normal collections service has resumed and we would like to thank residents for their patience.”

At the time of going to press, Amey had not responded to the Recorder’s request for comment.

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