Freedom day turns to Mayhem Monday with 25% of refuse collectors off self isolating in Milton Keynes

Waste collection issues will be inevitable, warn councillors

Monday, 19th July 2021, 6:17 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 6:18 pm

Almost 25% of the waste and recycling collection workforce in Milton Keynes are now in isolation and unable to work as the ‘pingdemic’ sweeping across England hits MK staff and contractors.

An estimated 1.7 million people are now being forced to self isolate, ironically coinciding with the government's ‘Freedom Day.’

Twelve refuse team members received pings at the end of last week as MK’s waste crews struggled to finish all rounds.

Waste collections will suffer, say councillors

But thanks to some emergency weekend cover and a fantastic effort by workers unaffected by need to self isolate or the virus, the majority of households had their waste and recycling collected by the end of the day on Saturday.

This follows a weekend of u-turn chaos in government, as Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

Despite both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak being in close contact with Javid in the days prior and receiving ‘pings’, they initially refused to self-isolate only reverse their decision minutes later after a backlash by the public.

Now, in Milton Keynes, senior councillors are warning that the chaos could impact local services.

MK’s Cabinet member for the public realm, Cllr Lauren Townsend, has asked residents to please be patient with the crews.

She said. “Crews are out in 30 degree temperatures and with a big chunk of their colleagues stuck at home, our refuse collection teams here in MK are putting on an amazing effort to ensure everyone’s bins get collected as soon as possible, but please be patient as we know issues are going to be inevitable.

“We’ll have collections into the weekend again if necessary this week but please be kind to the workers who are battling obstacles way out of their control.’

She concluded: “The Conservative government’s Freedom Day has turned into Mayhem Monday. It’s a shambles with even the Prime Minister unwilling at first to follow his own rules. If this situation continues, and cases will only continue to rise as the government gives the public mixed signals, then there is a significant risk of further disruption to services. We will work hard to mitigate that, but the government have lost control and that’s very obvious.”