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Birmingham binmen hit out as overtime is scrapped

Many refuse collectors have been limited to four-day working weeks and will now have trouble paying their mortgages and other bills, sources claim

binmen

Hundreds of binmen across Birmingham will be up to £600 a month worse off after overtime was scrapped as part of council cuts.

Many refuse collectors have been limited to four-day working weeks and will now have trouble paying their mortgages and other bills, sources claim.

Overtime has been scrapped for many council employees to save money and binmen who had relied on the payments to supplement their incomes face financial hardship.

Birmingham City Council has admitted that the ending of overtime will cause hardship and could delay collections – but claims it is also creating 120 new full-time posts.

But a Birmingham refuse collector, who asked not to be named, said: “We were called to a meeting and were given just a week’s notice to say that overtime had been stopped.

“Everybody has been put on a four-day week from now on.

“I have worked overtime one day a week for many years and so do the vast majority.

“Out of 100 binmen, I would say that 95 rely on overtime.

“We plan our lives around overtime, with the extra money going to the mortgage, the car and holidays. Many of us are going to be losing around £600 a month on average – you can’t just ring the mortgage company and say we won’t be able to pay the mortgage this month. We have a lot of agency staff these days and are all under a load of pressure.

“Morale is already at an all-time low and nobody was expecting this four-day week.

“Now it is set in stone, with only a week’s notice.”

Coun Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “As widely reported, the council faces unprecedented funding cuts from central government and our controllable budget is set to be cut by £822million between 2010 and 2018.

“We have done everything we can to protect employees from the effects of the savings we need to make, but we are now unfortunately at the point where this is unavoidable.

“By ending non-contractual overtime work or related payments, we will be taking steps that help to reduce the amount of redundancies we have to make in the coming years.

“And in the specific case of our refuse collection service, this change will actually lead to the creation of 120 new full-time posts because the same amount of work will remain to be dealt with.

"But we know this will have a significant impact on some employees, so we will ensure there is access to appropriate support, including a hardship scheme, financial planning support and the Staffcare counselling service.”

 
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