'SHORTFALLS' in Fife Council's refuse service need addressed now more than ever after missed collections in recent weeks, a local councillor has claimed.

Cowdenbeath Cllr Alex Campbell has called for immediate action to address the issue and says the "two-shift system put in to make substantial savings must be brought to an end".

He told the Times: “The two-shift system was brought in over a decade ago with council officials claiming it would save more than £1.8 million through better use of the resources but I don’t believe it saved anything like that, indeed, it is questionable what savings were actually made. More important it has resulted in a poorer service, rock bottom moral amongst the workforce and an all-round poorer service.

“I am told that senior management favour going back to the one-shift system when they can afford to do so.

"I am calling for the use of reserves over the next five years which will give the council plenty of time to build the amount needed into the core budget to ensure we get these services up to a standard that people expect.

"The level of dissatisfaction with not getting bins emptied must be the highest ever and while Covid is a factor it is clearly not the only one and it is not acceptable for the levels of poor services to continue any further. So we must get back to the single-shift system and do so now without hesitation."

He continued: “Once back on the single shift I believe there must be a full review of how these services are operated and managed, the levels of staffing required and what is the proper levels of budget needed to ensure good service delivery.

"Emptying the bins is a core service of the council and the expectation should be that when people put their bins out on the days they are told to do so by the council, those bins will be emptied.

"We must also increase our rates of recycling and work with people and communities to get back to the best rates of recycling in Scotland. To achieve this all stakeholders including the workers through their Trade Unions must be core to the review to get these services back to an acceptable level."

Senior manager John Rodigan explained that, as with many industries and organisations across the UK, the council is dealing with high numbers of employees absent from work due to Covid-19.

He said: "Staff are now returning, and the situation is improving but we apologise for the inconvenience caused by disrupted waste collection services.

"The teams are grateful for the public's support and patience while they recover missed bin backlogs.

"We are exploring longer term solutions to create more resilience in the service and better cope with future spikes in absence, whatever the cause."