Fife bin collections hit as up to 40% of workforce floored by COVID

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Bin collections across Fife are being hampered as up to 40% of the workforce is absent because of COVID.

Fife Council has said it will start to tackle the backlog - which has hampered some towns - this weekend, but it warns that staff absences mean normal service is impossible to provide.

The local authority’s comments came in response to concerns raised by Alex Rowley MSP who raised a number of issues affecting collections.,

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The Labour politician said he had been told of mechanical breakdowns with vehicles as well as COVID related absences hitting bin crews.

Pic: Michael GillenPic: Michael Gillen
Pic: Michael Gillen
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He added: “Whilst there is no doubt that Covid continues to have an impact on services, this surely must be addressed so that services such as getting the bins collected are addressed.

“Breakdown issues must also be addressed so that a lorry breaking down does not grind the whole services to a halt. What has been put in place to address these issues?”Mr Rowley said crews had told him that staffing levels were “far too low “ and they were struggling to complete the routes even before Covid.

He added: “It may be that there is simply not enough funding to get the job done.

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“If that is the case then you have a duty to report this to councillors and set out what is needed, and what costs are involved to get these services running at an acceptable level that is able to meet the basic requirements of lifting peoples bins rather than simply not turning up and leaving bins full of rubbish out on streets.”

In response, John Rodigan, senior manager, said: “With nearly 40% of the workforce absent from our service, it's not possible to maintain domestic waste collection services.

“Impacts are being felt across Fife and we can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“We will be working hard over the coming weekends to recover backlogs and really appreciate the public support for our teams as they try to catch up with missed bins.

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“We are exploring longer term solutions to create more resilience in the service and better cope with future spikes in absence, whatever the cause."

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