20th Apr, 2021

Redditch council staff: 'We are being put at risk of catching Covid' with 'unnecessary work'

Ross Crawford 15th Jan, 2021 Updated: 15th Jan, 2021

STAFF in the repairs and maintenance section of Redditch Borough Council say they are being put at risk of catching Covid by being asked to do unnecessary work.

They say while their managers shield themselves by working from home or the office they are being scheduled to go into people’s houses to do non-urgent repairs.

“We are being told we’re clearing up a backlog of jobs in the diary, but we’ve gone to a tenant’s house and they are saying ‘blimey, that’s quick, I only rang up a couple of hours ago’,” said the whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous.

“Before, in the first lockdown, we were working two weeks on, one week off but all that has changed and obviously this new variant is more contagious so it’s worse for us.

“They’re even asking us not to come into the office but they expect us to spend the day going in and out of people’s houses.”

He added that the council does provide PPE, which is scrupulously used by staff, but the team felt they were being asked to take unnecessary risks.

“No one is refusing to work,” he said.

“But we are constantly being told this pandemic is at a critical level.

“If it was emergencies only or we were working on void properties, fine, but we are not doing that – we feel we are being put at risk to stick two screws in a hinge.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “We are only sending our team out on requests for work which we deem to be essential or emergency and this has been communicated on our website.

“We are working closely with tenants who had jobs booked in before the national lockdown was announced. We are mutually agreeing with them which essential works will be honoured at this time.

“As the work reduces we will be redeploying teams to our void properties, again with all safety processes in place.”

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