post it back to the waste management authority ? The ramifications of all this are mind boggling!
Everything in local government seems to be cash strapped these days. Management is constantly looking for ways implement more and more cutbacks, which is not easy when they have been cutting back on things for years already. Now, as the end of the street sweeping contract looms on the horizon the changes are coming thick and fast. Two sweepers are retiring this summer. They will not be replaced and their rounds are to be split up among those remaining. It seems our faceless army of council workers is destined to shrink to a platoon!
Of course its all the fault of Thatcher & Son Plc. Privatisation means that we have to be lean and mean and showing a profit if we are to win the next contract. Leaner and meaner does not necessarily mean 'a better service'. It simply means a few skimming pastures once intensively grazed by many. Barrowmen, gully waggons and road sweepers have all disappeared off local streets since privatisation, while gradual cutbacks have reduced public services to a state of near collapse. Increasingly councillors see themselves as being elected merely to preside over cuts, redundancies, sell offs of public (our!) property and the awarding of contracts to private firms. No wonder conscientous people are reluctant to stand! Everyone is so obsessed with doing things on the cheap they have long ago lost sight of old adage that you get what you pay for!
And so the cuts and economies continue. Already we have to bag up our litter and throw it by hand into a skip at the depot because management is trying to save money on tipping charges. They've discovered that the Waste Management Authority charges the same rate for our small tipper vans as they do for for skip and bin wagons. So consequently we are barred from the the tip and have to manhandle all our refuse twice over! Talk about labour intensive! At this rate by the end of the contract we'll be sweeping the streets with teasels lashed to dinosaur bones!
At Brighouse Robert's not about (he never is if there's a lot of bags to pick up). Sure enough, in the lockup at Ganny Road theyre piled to the ceiling. God! has he been working overtime? Then I remember - Brighouse Gala. Fifty bags later I am shattered and burnt out and dreaming of getting home but unknown to me there's still another twist to the knife!
One thirty in the afternoon I am parked on a busy road in Elland, half on the pavement, as I plod wearily from bin to bin. When I return I notice my wagon is leaning quite a bit on the nearside. A closer inspection reveals a flat front tyre! In a council vehicle that's the kiss of death, especially when your two way radio only works one way! Now council waggons dont carry spare wheels and the new tyre has to be brought out to you and fitted in situ by a contractor. (Gone are those pre-privatised days when they simply sent a mechanic out from the depot with the spare wheel !). All the driver can do is put out a distress call and hang in there.
Wobbly Bob is cleaning the toilets so I descend on him and use his radio, bribing him with the Fiesta mags left in my cab. I finally get 'talk through' and explain my predicament.
"What's the tyre size? over"
"How the heck do I know, don't you have it on file somewhere? over"
"You'll have to give me the correct size over"
"Righto! I'll call you in a few minutes - over and out"
A few minutes later, with the number written on my hand I'm radioing again and I can't raise anybody! Ruddy typical! After an eternity I get through and relay the required information along with my location. Its now two o' clock. All I can do is sit and wait.
At three thirty I should have clocked off and gone home. At four o' clock I am still waiting and getting decidedly worried. That's the time the office staff pack up! I am beset by this nightmare vision of having to spend the night parked on double yellow lines fifty feet away from the traffic lights on the Stainland Road! At four thirty I have rung the wife and informed her of the situation. As I leave the phone box a tyre services wagon rolls up. Rescue at last!
I finally get home shattered, mentally exhausted and nearly two hours late. Next day I discover that I have been the subject of a complaint by a member of the public who has seen me sitting overlong in my wagon! Back home again, I relate the story to my wife.
" But who was the mean minded person who reported you Jim? Did you find out who it was??"
I smile thoughtfully. "Well it certainly wasn't Murphy love, it must have been Sod...............................!!