Burn midnight oil for answer

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THE way the temperature has been stoked ever higher in the dispute between the city’s binmen and their employers hardly offers much hope that talks at ACAS today will be conducted in an atmosphere of conciliation.

The men have begun a disruptive work to rule, leaving bins unemptied and inconveniencing residents across Sheffield. Employers have been shown to be training up a team of strike-breakers to ensure a skeleton service is provided if a walk out happens.

This exposes a deep fracture in relations at the company – and a major threat to one of the most fundamental services offered by a local council.

For emptying the bins of residents is something people rightly take for granted. It is why they pay their council taxes and, for many, their only direct contact with the city council.

We believe the city council cannot afford to stand by and let this dispute take its course. Though they pay an outside company to empty the city’s bins, they still have a responsibility to the people of Sheffield to ensure they can rely on this basic of services.

Let’s see more of the midnight oil being burned at the town hall as a solution is hammered out.

Take care driving in poorer areas

IT seems that the streets of our poorer areas are more dangerous for children than those in the more affluent areas. This unsavoury fact was disclosed by academic Prof Danny Dorling who has studied the number of accidents in the city over the last 21 months, and found that most were in less well-off districts.

There are many possible explanations for this but the inescapable fact is that motorists driving through these areas need to be extra-careful.

They should be constantly on their guard against distractions. Meanwhile, the parents of children across the city have a duty to their offspring to insist that they also show due regard to the dangers posed when crossing roads.

Time for a ban

WE fully support Sheffield MP Clive Betts in his work against local GP practices which use expensive premium-rate telephone lines which patients must use when making appointments.

These often carry hidden charges that many people may not be aware of until they get their bills many months later.

It is wrong that a service which is supposed to be free at the point of delivery should be operated in such a way that it makes money out of people’s illnesses in this way. It is time for a wholesale ban on such systems in the NHS.