Sign up to new shifts or face the sack

FIFE Council will dismiss all binmen who fail to sign up for the new two-shift system due to be introduced next month.

But the Council says it will then re-engage them all on the new terms and conditions of employment, with no break in service.

One in four staff have still not agreed to the new way of working, with the union Unite balloting for industrial action.

But the Council insists the two-shift bin collection system will be start on Monday, October 15, as planned.

From then, bins will be emptied from 6.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Councillor Pat Callaghan, executive member for transportation and environmental services, said: “I want to thank the 75 per cent of the workforce who have signed up to the new arrangements.

“I am however saddened that Unite continues to reject the proposal.

“Throughout all these negotiations from April 2011, it has been, and remains, our main priority to protect jobs and services. This package achieves the significant savings required while giving employees an increase in salary.’’

Unite has rejected the change to the two-shift system, saying it would impact of workers who would have less time to spend with their families in the evenings.

It also says communities in Fife would be inconvenienced as many bins would no longer be emptied when most people were working and children were at school and not playing in the streets.

The Council says it will save £800,000 a year.

But one refuse collector told the Press that even employees who had accepted the changes were far from happy.

He said: “I signed up but only because I need the job, and most of my colleagues feel the same way.

“I can’t see how they are going to save the money they are talking about. If they reduce the number of lorries, the remaining vehicles for double the time, so they’ll need replaced sooner.

“I don’t think the figures add up and I don’t think it makes sense.”