Bye bye broom!: Havering’s street sweepers could face the axe in new plans to overhaul street cleansing
PUBLISHED: 13:42 13 October 2017
The humble street sweeper could soon be a thing of the past if proposals to mechanise Havering Council’s street cleansing teams are given the go ahead.
Under new proposals, the borough’s streets would be swept by teams of four, three of whom would be using new machinery with only one employee using a broom.
Only 18 jobs would be lost during the change, but most staff will have to interview for newly created positions.
The proposals come after a review of the borough’s street cleansing services determined they were not as efficient or cost-effective as neighbouring boroughs’.
Paul Ellis, Public Realm group manager, said: “The findings of this review suggest that there are significant savings which could be realised without impacting negatively on service standards.
“The new model for delivering the service relies more on mechanised sweeping of the borough’s residential streets, and fewer operatives sweeping with brooms in the ‘traditional’ manner.
“Mechanised cleaning can clean more length of road per day than traditional hand sweeping.”
One worker affected by the proposals, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Recorder: “Papers were given to all the streetcare workers – who all have different levels of understanding of complicated documents.
“However, there is one thing they all know – the way it is proposed to work is a fantasy.
“To use a machine to clear the footpaths all over the borough will only work on pavements with no trees or other obstacles that have a smooth surface.
“The mechanical has already been tried out once before, a long time ago. It caused damage to walls, cars and to itself, so why try it again?”
It is estimated the proposed restructures will result in £209,000 of savings every year from 2018/19.
However, investment is required to implement the new plan – £660,000 being spent on three new small mechanical sweepers for pavements.
A consultation on the proposals with staff members and trade union representatives began on September 20 and is due to end in November.
It is anticipated that, if approved, the new scheme would come into effect from January 2018.