Edinburgh waste employees not allowed to clock off early

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Council refuse employees in Edinburgh to be banned from ‘Task and Finish’ working practice

The City of Edinburgh Council has announced plans to stop the city’s waste collection employees from clocking off early following the completion of the day’s tasks.

The practice of ‘Task and Finish’ (i.e, going home early after finishing the day’s scheduled work) is widespread across the UK amongst council refuse workers. Until now, it has generally been accepted and the practice has avoided any close scrutiny.

Edinburgh council stops early finishes for waste workers

Edinburgh council to stop refuse workers finishing shifts early. Photo: © Copyright Rob Farrow

However, in recent months, some local authorities across the UK, including Newcastle-upon-Tyne, have decided to investigate the practice and, in some cases, to invoke rules which ban refuse workers from going home before the end of their official shifts.

According to Edinburgh Evening News, which managed to obtain official documents, the city council is of the thought that refuse workers will overlook health and safety regulations in the rush to finish the day’s job and go home earlier.

Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh council’s transport and environment convener, commented: “The ending of Task and Finish is another change that forms part of a long term improvement plan to ensure that waste collection is an efficient, effective and customer focussed service.”

However, trade union Unite claims the city council is simply trying to use the issue of Task and Finish as a means of distracting attention away from a lack of council funding for the improvement of waste and environment services in Edinburgh.

Peter Lawson, the Unite convenor for Edinburgh, claimed the council has cut its waste and environment budget by £17 million over the last 7 years and that the council is using Task and Finish as a ‘phoney war’ to distract from the real issues.

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