A war of words has broken out between Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell and leader of Kirklees Council David Sheard over last week’s public sector strike.
The strike, which was on July 10, affected numerous council-run services, including bin collection, with residents whose rubbish was set to be collected that day set to miss out on bin collections for a whole month.
Mr Reevell said: “Choosing to leave thousands of household bins overflowing at the height of summer is just wrong and is yet another sign of the incompetence of Kirklees Council.
“The situation looks even more ridiculous considering that neighbouring Calderdale Council was able to carry out a full collection on the day of the strike and Wakefield Council put on a special collection today to catch up. This is the sort of thing that happens when you have an administration whose sympathies lie more with the strikers than the council tax-payer.”
Coun Sheard hit back, saying: “I don’t think Simon has thought this through, and I don’t know what he expects us to do – pay overtime for striking bin workers?
“It isn’t about the money – it is the practicalities.
“I think the decision on whether to support the strikes is down to individuals, but personally, I do sympathise with them – the lower paid workers are having to pay for the mistakes of the bankers and high-earners, and they have a right to strike.”
Coun Sheard also suggested that the money saved from the strikes should be transferred into a welfare fund for people who are struggling to make ends meet. Although he could not yet put a figure on the amount of money saved by the council in last Thursday’s strike, he said the amount saved during the last day of national public sector strikes was around £500,000.
A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said: “Changing the collection schedule at this stage will not be possible because of a number of factors including the ongoing confusion which results in trying to notify householders about late changes. If people are concerned about the gap between collections that this national industrial action has caused they may wish to take their excess waste to their local waste and recycling centre.”