A union official has claimed that a Welsh council’s plans to make cuts and privatise some services could jeopardise winter roads services and therefore safety.
Ceredigion County Council is aiming to achieve savings of between £2.5m and £4.7m from its technical services group, including ‘externalising delivery’.
Owain Davies, secretary of the Ceredigion branch of UNISON, said the privatisation of refuse collection and fleet maintenance would have a knock-on effect on the council’s winter roads maintenance programme.
He said: ‘Given the overlap between the refuse service and the winter roads maintenance programme, we are also concerned that these proposals would lead to significant cost increases in that area and potentially jeopardise road safety.’
Mr Davies told Transport Network that the winter service has always relied heavily on refuse collection drivers, who would no longer be available to the council, and questioned the wisdom of relying on an external contractor to maintain the winter service fleet.
He said: ‘There seems to be quite a lot of risk in this.’
In particular, Mr Davies said the council’s plans to train up other road maintenance staff as Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers were vague and not properly thought through.
He asked: ‘Who’s to say they’d want to stay a roadworker if they’ve got an HGV licence?’
Ceredigion announced last week that its transformation programme is ‘moving into an implementation phase’ amid plans make overall savings of £8.7m this year, following savings of £11m last year.
It stated that the ‘current level of service being delivered would be pared back in some service areas’.
Last year the council merged its asset and transportation services with its municipal and environmental services to form the technical services group.
Transport Network approached Ceredigion for a response to Mr Davies’ comments.
Surveyor’s 25th Annual Winter Maintenance Conference, Cold Comfort 2016, takes place on 18th - 19th May at Manchester Central, Manchester, UK. To register click here: