Posted: Fri 3rd Apr 2020

Bin collectors and council staff in Flintshire hailed as unsung heroes of coronavirus crisis

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 3rd, 2020

Bin collectors and other frontline council staff in Flintshire have been hailed as the unsung heroes of the coronavirus crisis.

Despite the risk of contracting the illness, refuse workers in both counties have continued to empty general rubbish and recycling bins as normal with the only service suspended being garden waste collections in Flintshire.

Crews have faced incidents where residents have left tissues in open recycling bags, leading to calls for people to stop in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Social care staff and teachers have also carried on performing vital roles in their communities during unprecedented times.

While much praise has been levelled at NHS workers, politicians in both counties said it was important that the contribution of frontline council employees is recognised.

Carolyn Thomas, deputy leader of Flintshire Council, said: “I see lots of support, quite rightly, for NHS workers and people keeping food supplies going, but please can we also recognise the role of council employees and give them some appreciation for all they are doing?

Remember that key workers are also social health care workers, working in care homes and in the community delivering domiciliary care managed through the council.

The NHS is asking councils to find more room for patients as they clear wards and there is a lot of strain on managers who are trying to organise this as more staff are self-isolating or returning to NHS work.

Also, the waste operatives are still collecting rubbish in difficult circumstances. The amount of waste is increasing as people stay at home.

The operatives have to still try to social distance, and some have gone into self-isolation so others are helping out.

A friendly word of appreciation, assistance and tolerance goes a long way.”

The Labour cabinet member for streetscene and countryside said despite the best efforts of local authority staff, some had received abuse from members of the public.

Others have demanded a council tax rebate because of schools only being accessible to the children of key workers or due to the closure of recycling centres.

However, Cllr Thomas said many people were not aware that council tax only accounts for around 28 per cent of funding for local authorities, with the rest coming from central government.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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