Binmen could switch to four-day working week under plans being drawn up by Lib Dem council
- South Cambridgeshire Council is drawing up plans for a four-day working week
- The council said a shorter week would ‘reduce sickness levels and injuries’
Binmen could become the latest public sector workers to transition into a four-day working week under new plans being drawn up by a council who believe it will ‘reduce sickness levels and injuries’.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is set to let binmen join staff with desk jobs in leaving five-day working weeks behind.
In the latest move by the Liberal Democrat council, binmen would be paid the same amount of money for less days of work as councillors look to expand the policy over the summer.
The trial, which is set to be rolled out across July and August, would see around 131,000 households go without having their bins collected on Mondays.
According to proposals seen by the Daily Telegraph, the controversial move would cost taxpayers around £132,000 just in the first year.
Binmen could become the latest public sector workers to transition into a four-day working week under new plans by a Lib Dem council. (file image)
South Cambridgeshire District Council (pictured) is set to let binmen join staff with desk jobs in leaving five-day working weeks behind
South Cambridgeshire District Council firmly believe that bringing in a four-day week would ‘reduce sickness levels and injuries’, while stopping Monday bin collections would lead to an ‘increase in recycling rates due to less confusion for residents when collections coincide with bank holidays’.
A four-day week for binmen still needs approval, including from Cambridge City Council who share bin collection responsibilities.
South Cambridgeshire councillors say that binmen could optimise their routes to maximise productivity while working a day less. The council also said an extra four waste vehicles would be needed.
The move comes amid soaring council tax rates this year, with the authority set to rake in an extra £11million from residents.
Around 450 desk staff at the council have been working four days a week since January – a move that could be replicated throughout Britain.
In fact, Swale Council in Kent is also moving towards reducing workers’ hours. From May 1, it will close its offices on Fridays as part of a ‘wider programme of transformation’.
There are fears that closing offices on a Friday will impact those most vulnerable because they won’t be able to seek help until Monday.
South Cambridgeshire councillors say that binmen could optimise their routes to maximise productivity while working a day less. (file image)
The move comes amid soaring council tax rates this year, with South Cambridgeshire council set to rake in an extra £11million from residents. Pictured: Houses in South Cambridgeshire
Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said ‘there are better ways of saving money than reducing the service provided to local taxpayers, particularly those most in need of help’.
A pilot published in late February saw 61 UK companies reduce working hours for all staff by 20 per cent for six months from June last year, with no cut in wages. At least 56 said they planned to continue with a four-day week, with 18 having already adopted the policy.
Staff said they found it easier to balance work with both family and social commitments and that their mental and physical health improved from having an extra day off, while the average firm reported a slight revenue increase over the trial period.
Although many see the benefit of four-day working weeks, critics argue the concept would be impossible in customer-facing jobs, or 24/7 operations including where overtime payments would present an extra cost to employers or the taxpayer.
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Henry Batchelor, said: ‘Nationally and locally it is often difficult to recruit staff – especially at the Waste Service which we share with our neighbours at Cambridge City Council.
‘To help deal with this and further support the wellbeing of our hardworking crews, we need to try something new. For us, that is a proposed 4 day week trial – which we have been testing successfully amongst our desk-based colleagues since the start of the year.
‘We are still working through how this could work for waste crews and would ensure any residents impacted by this proposed change – and it would not be everyone across the two areas – are given as much notice as possible. Our own Cabinet and Cambridge City Council still need to take a formal decision on this proposed trial for waste crews before it is confirmed.’