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Phil Parry is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year.
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Bridgend council – ‘awful’

Angry residents have condemned an enormous pay rise for the head of a company awarded a contentious waste collection contract by a Welsh local authority which has been criticised as chaotic, while the council officially failed on 30 points, The Eye can disclose.

One homeowner in Bridgend, the heart of the scandal, told us:  “This system is just awful.

“Now we hear the man in charge is earning huge amounts while our waste is still not being collected properly.”

Nice work if you can get it…

In June, soon after the firm Kier, took over the re-cycling contract, Gareth Davies, from Brynmenin, said: “It’s absolute chaos.

“We’ve had loads of delays – at one point there were ripped up bin bags everywhere in the street”.

An Independent Bridgend councillor, Julia Williams, said there was a “shambolic” start to the contract, which saw widespread missed collections leading to maggots and flies on recycling containers and bags.

Waste collection in Bridgend – ‘spiralling out of control’

The controversial service in the area made the news, with one BBC report headlined “spiralling out of control”.

A stream of complaints continued to appear on social media in the Autumn, with some residents saying rubbish – including bags of nappies – had not been picked up for more than two weeks.

On Christmas Eve, Bridgend council hit the headlines again when it was revealed there had been a staggering rise in grievances.

Maggots, and complaints, grew

Complaints about bin collections in the area rose by more than 1,400 per cent.

Yet the huge pay of the man at the head of the company in charge of it all has been slammed.

In November a revolt was sparked at the annual meeting of Kier by the proposal to increase the salary of the head of the company by an amount well ahead of the rest of the board.

Haydn Mursell’s pay was to be lifted from £590,000 to £620,000 a year, but including extras the total is £1,234,000.

The way things used to be done…

Meanwhile Bridgend council failed on dozens of performance standards, including Missed Collection – Green Waste.

But Kier officials believe the service has now become a success and Bridgend has the UK’s highest recycling rate.

“There’s some real positive trends over the last three/four months and the recycling rate of 74 per cent is frankly impressive – UK-leading,” said Maz Akhtar, a regional manager for Kier.

Officials criticised for giving themselves ‘pat on the back’

But aspects of the contract were also dubbed “shambolic” and “a farce” at a council scrutiny committee meeting in November.

Committee members condemned council and Kier chiefs for “congratulating themselves” on improving performance, when they said collections were still being missed, complaints were going unanswered, and some residents had still not had the correct bags or containers for the scheme, while others had trouble securing discreet collections of absorbent hygiene waste.

Carwyn Jones was not impressed

Ms Williams said:  “…they weren’t ready, they weren’t prepared, and they still aren’t prepared.

“I want to know why.”

Chairman Coun John Spanswick called on Kier to “up their game”.

Even First Minister Carwyn Jones took to Twitter to complain his collection was late.

Handing over fat cheques is not unusual

It will be interesting if the First Minister also wades into the growing row over the huge pay packet of the man in charge of it all.

Mr Jones earns far less – only over £120,000 a year.

Check your knowledge of today’s events as revealed over the last few months on The Eye, with our brilliant interactive quiz:




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