Archives for posts with tag: agency staff

Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling, sent a message to Birmingham citizens to say that the pattern of industrial action changed on August 11. There are now three one-hour strikes each working day (7am-8am, then 10.30am-11.30am and finally 1.30pm-2.30pm):

“The travel time before and after each hour of industrial action along with crew breaks being taken at their depot – rather than out and about in the city – will have a significant impact on collections. In simple terms this will be much more than the three hours of strike action that Unite the union claim to be staging”.

She corrects the impression that there will be job losses and cuts to basic pay for workers that are affected by the removal of the “leading hand” role ( “one of the two supervisors we currently have – in a crew that is only a three-person team”).

Those supervisors will be offered other permanent roles within the council that their skills are broadly suited to, with training on offer to help ensure they could move into the jobs as easily as possible.

The plan being discussed with the unions is based on the best practice used by other councils. Under the new model, more than 200 new permanent employees will be recruited to collect rubbish and recycling from our streets. This will bring stability to the service and improve efficiency.

Many readers will welcome the determination to move away from an over-reliance on agency staff and other in-house moves taken – notably the reduced use of Capita services.

To read the full message go to:






The sketchy reports on the dispute about the refuse collection changes on the BBC and Birmingham Mail websites have been supplemented by welcome information from Jacqui Kennedy, Corporate Director for Place.

She explained that this action is being taken because the council is facing significant financial challenges following six years of cuts to local government funding.

Taking refuse collection ‘in-house’ – dispensing with 200 expensive agency staff

Jacqui continued: “It is extremely important that we move away from relying on expensive agency staffAt the moment 200 out of 595 employees in refuse collection are hired from agencies. We intend to replace agency staff with up to 246 full-time staff employed directly by the council. All of these new permanent employees will enjoy the associated benefits that come with working for the council such as pension, holiday entitlement and sick pay”. The Mail adds that overtime will also go and the number of binmen will be increased by 152.

Agreement with the unions is sought as waste collection crews will be required to shift from a four day week of just over nine hours per day to a five day week of just over seven hours per day. Joint development of the detailed plans needed to make these proposals work is important.

Jacqui points out that over 40% of material in our bins is food waste. Last year, UK households wasted around 20% of all the food they buy – but there has been a 17% reduction since 2007, according to Food Waste Facts.

Visitors to this site come from many British regions and other countries – last week’s stats (right). A Gloucestershire reader recommends their food waste collection which began in 2016. Though some Birmingham gardeners already compost such material, other residents could make good use of a similar facility.

A Stroud newspaper recorded in 2016 that two weeks into the scheme 232 tonnes of food waste from 52,000 residents had already been collected – more than the weight of a blue whale.

Even the most careful householders have eggshells and orange peel to place in the small kitchen food waste bin provided – and the less careful dispose of ‘leftovers’ and unused, decaying food. These are emptied into a larger bin (right) kept outside. The bins are collected once a week and taken to an aerobic digester. In a few weeks it is turned into gas used in the grid and the residue is put on the fields as fertiliser.

“A great example of the renewable circular economy”, according to Green councillor Simon Pickering.






junior doctors strike

A link in the Brummie aggregator, in a notice from Birmingham Against the Cuts, gives notice that there will be a rally to support the junior doctors on Saturday 20th, at 2pm, outside Waterstones by the Bull Ring, because the government’s decision to impose a new contract on them will see them working longer for less and will drive down morale in the profession.

Middlesbrough consultant oncologist and National Health Action Party member Dr Clive Peedell said: “”There are real fears that Jeremy Hunt’s response to this week’s strike will be to go ahead and impose the unsafe and unfair ’24/7′ contract. The numbers of doctors leaving the service will grow as a consequence, leaving even more specialities at critical staffing levels. No Secretary of State for Health with a real concern for the people and an ability to use evidence-based policy could possibly make that choice at this point.” More on his thinking here.

Concerns that the health service is being sold off to private providers

Junior doctor Sophie Herbert, who works in A&E, said the dispute was not just about the new contract: “This is a much bigger issue which the government is intentionally hiding from the media. It’s about the privatisation of the NHS. In 2012 the Health and Social Care Act provided a legal route for the privatisation of the NHS. This has already resulted in contracts being sold off to private providers. But the majority of voters do not want the health service sold off and cherish the NHS.”

NHS Providers

Searching on the term ‘private providers’ found that the Foundation Trust Network has been renamed NHS Providers and its website now highlights its work with NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health services, relegating its support as the ‘trade body’ for the semi-autonomous foundation trusts to less prominent web pages.

NHS Providers has more than 90% of all trusts in membership, collectively accounting for £65 billion of annual expenditure and employing more than 928,000 staff. Its Chair is a medic, Dame Gill Morgan and its chief executive is Chris Hopson, a former civil servant, working for the HMRC after working at Grenada TV and a charity for young homeless people.

NHS Providers are said to be facing significant challenges on both finance and operational performance against key national standards.

A series of new hourly price caps will limit the amount of money various types of agency staff working in the NHS can earn and controls on management consultancy expenditure were expected to have an impact by the end of 2015. News of these and other problems may be seen on this government website.