THURROCK’S BIN MEN rubbished a leading borough councillor over “disparaging comments” as they held a 30-strong lorry convoy through the streets to the Civic Offices in Thurrock this morning (Tuesday).
According to spokesman Billy Spence, bin-men have been verbally abused on and off duty as the public have accused them of not going out due to the cold weather with people also speculating that they were dragging their heels as the waste contract was up for re-negotiation.
Billy said: “We have been sworn at on the streets and off duty in the pubs because people think we have been refusing to go out.
“But we can tell you that we were more than happy to go out and put salt on the path so that we can get on with the job but the council did not have any shovels and could not supply us with any salt!”
“We are also very worried about our jobs, now that the contracts have been split up.”
The workers were also upset at comments made by Environment Portfolio Holder, Cllr Mike Revell.
Last week, Cllr Revell made a firm promise that under the new contract: ” If conditions determine they can’t go out and collect they will have been retrained and can be redeployed on tasks such as gritting the streets.”
Cllr Revell has responded. He said: “Firstly, there is no threat to their jobs. Secondly, it is clear that the Labour are playing politics here and no wonder they were there to meet the refuse collectors.
“They had an opportunity to contest the contract but their “call-in” came in too late. They have behaved disgracefully.”
Leader of the Opposition, John Kent countered Cllr Revell’s accusations and slammed his treatment of the bin-men.
He said: “I have the documentary evidence that shows the call-in was entered in good time.
“What is important is that the council’s claim that the new contract structure can save £2 million is highly dubious. Scrutiny has been denied, there is an absence of facts. There isn’t any yard, there isn’t any management in place but what concerns me most is that the £2 million saving will be found through attacking terms and conditions”.
The hundred strong delegation pledged that they would return tomorrow night to petition Cllr Revell in person at the Full Council meeting.