Scrooges at Aylesbury Vale District Council have banned hardworking bin men from collecting Christmas presents.
The revelation that refuse collectors could face disciplinary action for accepting traditional Christmas tips has been met with anger from union chiefs.
Explaining the council’s policy, cabinet member for finance, resources and compliance Howard Mordue, said: “Our recycling and waste teams are the face of AVDC that most people see, and I, like many others really appreciate the hard work they put in during the run-up to Christmas and throughout the year. In common with all other employees at AVDC, they are generally not permitted to accept gifts and hospitality at work and this would include tips and gifts at Christmas.”
He added: “Although we appreciate that customers sometimes like to express their gratitude to our hard working teams, our policy only allows employees to accept low value modest items. In the past customers have been generous in offering mince pies, cakes or biscuits that can be shared with colleagues, and these have generally been accepted as appropriate.”
“It is important to us that our customers trust our employees to act with the highest degree of integrity, and therefore, if we become aware of an allegation that an employee has breached our Code of Conduct, we would normally investigate the matter, as a potential disciplinary issue.”
Unite national officer for local authorities Fiona Farmer said: “The bosses at Aylesbury Vale District Council are being mean-spirited and Scrooge-like in this misguided edict - it should be rescinded immediately.
“If the residents of Aylesbury wish to give the refuse collectors, who are out in all weathers collecting their waste, a small token of appreciation that should be allowed - this is not high scale bribery and back handers, but an act of recognition of a job well-done 365 days a year.
“The councillors need to take a history lesson, as in Britain it has been the long-standing custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of presents on the first weekday after Christmas as a ‘thank you’ for good service throughout the year.
“This custom stretches back centuries and was mentioned in Samuel Pepys diary in December 1663.”