Bin men refuse to work in ice and snow


By Cara Sulieman

RUBBISH in Edinburgh is being left to rot in the streets after bin men refused to go and collect it in the treacherous weather.

Two out of three stayed away from work on Thursday, saying “health and safety” was preventing them from braving the slippery streets.

But it has caused anger among other workers at Edinburgh City Council – including parking attendants and park wardens – who downed tools and took to the streets to try and clear the roads.

The head of the council’s services for communities department, Mark Tuley, said that they had given the bin men the option of working or going home without pay.

“Health and safety”

And two thirds of the 260-strong workforce chose to go home.

Mark Tuley said: “All of the refuse collection staff refused to leave the depot due to health and safety concerns in light of the conditions.

“We expressed the view that they have been working in difficult conditions, but safely, for the last three weeks.

“We asked them to go out in the city centre, for example, and they refused to do that.”

Mr Tuley confirmed that four private firms have been contracted to provide a “small army” of around 100 staff to grit the streets.

“Roads first”

And Alex Salmond said that teams of criminals serving community service would be deployed to help clear the streets in the Lothians over the next few days.

A whopping 500 tonnes of grit are being used every day in the capital, but Mr Tuley said they were more prepared than other local authorities for the cold snap.

Edinburgh City Council has had to turn down requests from Fife and Midlothian to borrow some of their stockpile as reserves are running dangerously low.

Mr Turley said: “Roads come first and pavements second.

“The city is still moving and we’ve had no road closures, and 98 per cent of public transport is operating.”