ANGRY bin workers today predicted ‘utter chaos’ when fortnightly bin collections start in Sheffield next week.
Binmen employed by council contractor Veolia, claim plans to switch to fortnightly collections have not been thought through properly.
Staff working out of the Bernard Road depot say they were only given their new routes on Tuesday afternoon - and must learn up to 10 by Monday morning.
And they say they will be forced to continue making weekly collections to 120 properties at Hyde Park because the complex has no blue recycling bins.
But Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, waste and streetscene, said: “The Government has dealt us a heavy blow in terms of budget cuts, leaving us with no choice but to make changes across the city.
“One of these changes is the alternate weekly collection of bins. This is not a decision which has been taken lightly. We have thought long and hard when faced with stark decisions about where the cuts should come.
“But I would like to reassure residents we are doing everything possible to make sure the changes are well managed and cause as little disruption as possible.
“We have been working hard with Veolia and our frontline crews to make the changes run as smooth as possible for everyone including our customers and the collection staff, who are learning new collection rounds.
“We have involved our frontline collection staff in planning the change, and the new collection rounds have been issued to the collection crews.
“I am confident that suitable arrangements have been made to make these changes work and I am saddened that the some people feel the need to make waves like this when we have done everything to work with them on these changes.”
A Veolia spokesman added: “For the past six months we have been working closely with the council to implement alternate weekly collections.
“We have involved our frontline staff in planning the changes and the new rounds have been issued to the collection crews.
“We will continue to work closely with our customers over the coming weeks in order to help them manage these important changes to the service.”
One bin lorry driver, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Star: “People are being told that the switch to fortnightly bin collections will save the city £2.4 million per year.
“But how can that be when they have paid redundancy money to men and then find themselves having to set as many as 40 more on plus extra wagons for the first three months?
“We believe they are doing this to make it look as though the scheme is working. But we have already seen cracks start to appear in the plan and it’s going to get worse.
“We were told this week that more than 120 properties in Hyde Park Terrace and Hyde Park Walk will continue to have a weekly collection. And the reason - they don’t have any blue bins for recycling. Why wasn’t this thought about before now?
“Add to that the fact that we were only given our new routes on Tuesday afternoon which means we have until Monday to learn up to ten new routes. It will be utter chaos.”
n Changes come in from next Monday. Leaflets with new collection details are being delivered this week. Information: 0114273 4567.