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Bin collection chaos assurances

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By Euan Maxwell
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Bin collection chaos assurances

A SPECIAL council meeting on last month’s bin collection chaos was held yesterday behind closed doors – with assurances given that it’ll never happen again.

The meeting contained discussions around waste collections on public holidays.

However, it took place in private due to confidential information relating to the dispute, although members were split on this decision and held a vote about how it should be discussed.

Councillor Andy Fergusson lost a motion to hold it in public, he had said: “This is of a very high and great interest to the general public.”

But following the meeting, council convener Cllr Malcolm Johnstone stated the talks gave every member “the assurance” that the local authority is “committed to ensuring that communication with our residents, and where appropriate businesses who use our commercial collection service, will be clearer for future public holiday arrangements”.

It comes after the council – at the very last minute – announced waste bins wouldn’t be collected during the Easter public holidays dates. This left some angry residents with full general waste bins for nearly a month.

However, the next public holidays are not until Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and January 2. 

Cllr Johnstone added: “Even though the discussion today was held in private, this does not preclude us from wishing to assure both our workforce and the general public that waste collection is an extremely important service for our constituents of Dumfries and Galloway. 

“We will continue to hold constructive and regular conversations with our workforce and the joint trade unions, to ensure we have a collective way forward as to how waste collection will be handled for future public holidays.”

Depute convener Cllr Gail MacGregor added: “Our workforce is our greatest asset as a local authority. We want to ensure these committed, hardworking, dedicated employees are listened to and get the time off they are contractually entitled to and deserve during public holidays periods. 

“What we also have to do is ensure that resident and business concerns are listened to, are relayed to officers and that a way forward is established so we don’t face similar issues to those we faced during Easter. 

“Today’s meeting was held in private to protect the council’s legal position on this matter, but we want to be open and transparent with both our constituents and our workforce as we move forward on this.”

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