Yesterday's Council meeting consisted of false outrage and crocodile tears. Sir Albert jumped on the passing pay & grading bandwagon, urged on by his trade union friends. Although the single status agreement was signed about 10 years ago the Labour Party did nothing about it. They looked at it, found it would be very difficult and tortuous and said " no thanks Guv. Now the deadline for sorting this out looms and Alan Rudge has worked mightily to get a scheme together which complies with the legal requirements of equal pay law and the single status agreement, using the national pay scales agreed, no demanded on, by the unions. There are some employees whose salary will drop due to them receiving a higher pay grade than the job calls for but even their salaries will be protected for 3 years, the maximum allowed by law.The unions will huff & puff but I think back to my days as a TGWU shop Steward and I don't think they will have enough support to be able to do a lot of damage and they will quickly lose the support of the citizens if they leave the rubbish uncollected. Most people see council workers as overpaid and under-worked. This is a very unfair view as the majority of workers I meet are dedicated to their work but who said life was fair?
There was also a threatened kerfuffle about a Scrutiny report calling for pilot schemes using wheelie bins for recyclates and green waste. We believe this is a Trojan Horse to get wheelie bins adopted across the city. This will also involve all the other things associated with them, fortnightly collections, chips and "pay as you throw". It would also mean extensive capital outlay which the city cannot afford.
Keith's view is also coloured by the topography of Longbridge. The area stands on a sandstone outcrop of the Lickey Hills and is very convoluted. We have many hills around here with roads cut into the side of them. This means that to get from a front door to the kerbside can mean going up or down a great number of steps, to do this whilst pulling a heavily loaded wheelie bin would be dangerous if not impossible for thousands of householders. Bags are not perfect but they are manageable and flexible, you can put out as many or as few as required. That is why we will always oppose wheelie bins in Longbridge.
There had been fears that Labour and some Lib-Dems would combine to defeat us on this but in the end it rather fizzled out.
Sue and I had already agreed to attend a charity function and it looked at one stage that we would have to miss it but we managed to get paired and got there just in time. A good job really as Keith won first prize in the raffle, a 36" flat screen tv...RESULT!!