Streetscene staff still on tenterhooks

Reporter:

Helen Davies

COUNCIL workers are still waiting to hear how their jobs will be affected by a major shake-up of the Streetscene service.

Flintshire Council has been working on a scheme to save money by offering a more joined-up service, which could see waste collectors being trained to cut hedges.

Streetscene is responsible for services such as winter maintenance, waste collection and disposal, fleet management, street cleaning and grounds maintenance.

A consultation period has been taking place for more than a year to look at improving the current service, which council chiefs said was severely disjointed.

There were more than 100 different job titles within the service and 10 different contact numbers for the public.

Streetscene operates from five depots across the county and about 35 per cent of planned maintenance work is carried out by agency staff.

Flintshire Council’s environment overview and scrutiny committee was told at a recent meeting the consultation period is coming to an end but there was still work to do before the launch, expected to be in the autumn.

The overhaul will see Streetscene staff trained to be multi-skilled to work across all services, a contact centre to deal with calls and a new logo, phone number and uniform to unite the service.

Head of Streetscene Steve Jones said: “We will work from a single depot, people will get to know each other and will work better together.”

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge said he was concerned there would not be enough time to train staff in different skills before the new Streetscene was launched.

Mr Jones said: “Will we be using a waste operator to cut a hedge? Absolutely, but not on the first day.”

Concerns were also raised over job losses.

Mr Jones said there had been 35 jobs at risk initially, but following the consultation period other posts have been created, some people have left and others retired.

“We’re down to under 20 now but are hoping to accommodate most of these,” said Mr Jones.

The new Streetscene staff will operate on a four day shift pattern covering six days a week.

See full story in the Leader

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