Depot workers in dispute over hours

Copse Road depot in Fleetwood
Copse Road depot in Fleetwood
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Street cleaners are locked in a contract dispute over their weekend working hours.

Staff from Wyre Council’s Street Cleansing Services have been told by management their Saturday and Sunday working hours could go from the current 6am to 10am, to 7.30am to 3.30pm as part of changes to their 37-hour rota.

A letter sent to councillors by Unison – and seen by The Gazette – claims workers do not believe working the proposed weekend hours during the winter on the Promenade is sustainable, and would be a detriment to their family life and cause “significant” transport problems for staff on Sundays.

Staff were notified of the new contracts on March 12 and on April 4, Unison was told of 19 potential redundancies and seven who will need to be considered for re-deployment after the contracts were met with opposition.

Dion Baugh, regional organiser for the union, said: “The affected workers have delivered an excellent and highly praised service for at least eight years and the council has never been at risk of being unable to fulfil its legal obligations.

“The workers are committed to providing a good service but they are beginning to feel aggrieved and badly treated.”

Michael Ryan, corporate director with responsibility for street cleansing, says the council is consulting with UNISON over the changes.

He said: “Let me reassure people that we are not making any of our street cleansing staff redundant.

“We know the service is highly valued by residents and since bringing operations in-house last year, we have created an additional four jobs within the workforce.

“However we need to adapt how we do things to make better use of resources and provide a more efficient service.

“As an area that attracts visitors, it is essential that we provide a high standard of street cleansing at weekends as well as Monday to Friday.”

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