Scots bin men angry over gift ban this Christmas

Bin Men in East Dunbartonshire have been told not to accept gifts in Christmas.
Bin Men in East Dunbartonshire have been told not to accept gifts in Christmas.
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Angry bin men say they have been forced to sign “anti-bribery” agreements banning them from accepting gifts of alcohol or cash for Christmas.

Refuse collectors have hit out at the new agreement which bars them from accepting alcohol or tips from grateful residents.

They can still receive biscuits or sweets but have raised concerns that the new agreement could mar the festive season.

And union chiefs are now making inquiries to see what can be done about the rule imposed by bosses at East Dunbartonshire Council.

One man, who works at the council’s Hilton Road depot, said: “The men get good tips at Christmas and I’m sure it helps them a lot at this time of year.

“It’s the only time of year the boys get appreciation from members of the public.

“Some of them may be living on the breadline and rely on these gifts for Christmas.

“They may be using tips to buy their weans a few extra Christmas presents or buy some luxuries for the festive season.

“This seems very mean spirited to me and I don’t understand why anyone would try to bribe binmen anyway.

“What could be achieved?

“It seems very unfair that these men now risk losing their jobs if they accept a gift of alcohol or money from someone.”

But the council’s depute chief executive, Ann Davie, said: “The council’s anti-bribery policy was developed in line with our approach to Partnership at Work and was approved by council earlier this year.

“It also reflects the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010.

“The council is wholly committed to preventing bribery and corruption in all its dealings and relationships and as a result all employees across all council services are forbidden from offering or accepting bribes or unlawful inducements to or from anyone for any purpose.

“All employees have been advised that if they have any doubt at all about circumstances that they find themselves in, they should seek advice immediately from their line manager.”

But a spokesperson for the East Dunbartonshire branch of Unison says the wording of the new rules has been changed without their agreement.

Union representative Tommy Robertson said: “The draft policy said gifts of alcohol or offers of hospitality however small should not be ‘automatically’ accepted by employees.

“The omission of the word ‘automatically’ was never made known to the Trade Unions prior to this policy being accepted by the council.

“We are now making inquiries.”