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Festive rubbish and recycling collections

Festive rubbish and recycling collections Credit: PA

There will be no change to rubbish and recycling collections in County Durham over the festive period.

Durham County Council is asking residents to put their bins out as normal over Christmas and New Year.

Bins should be left at the kerbside by 7am on your normal collection day.

The last day for bulky waste and white goods collections will be Friday, 23 December, with the service resuming on Tuesday, 3 January.

Christmas waste Credit: PA

Please find details of services including bulky waste collections, Christmas tree recycling and HWRC opening times on the council's website.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said:

We all produce significantly more waste than normal over the Christmas and New Year period so it’s especially important that we take extra care to dispose of it responsibly. This year, there will be no change to kerbside collections but I would urge people to take note of other changes to waste and recycling services, such as HWRC closures and the pause in bulky waste and white goods collections."

– Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council

Durham Council 'very disappointed' after teaching assistants' reject their offer

Durham County Council say they are 'very disappointed' that teaching assistants have voted to reject their revised pay offer.

Earlier today Unison announced its teaching assistant members in County Durham had 'overwhelmingly rejected' the new offer in a long running dispute over pay cuts. They have been protesting over plans to pay teaching assistants for term-time only.

Unison represents the majority of the 2700 teaching assistants involved. The GMB Union represents around 500 teaching assistants. Their members have voted to accept the revised offer

Durham County Council’s director of children’s services, Margaret Whellans, said:

“We are really disappointed that UNISON members have voted not to accept our revised compensation offer which their unions and mediation service ACAS all recognised was the best deal possible.

However, we now face a very complex set of circumstances, with GMB members voting to accept the deal and GMB requesting urgent discussions with the council about that. We also have several hundred teaching assistants who are not members of any union and therefore were unable to take part in the ballot.

This has been a really long and difficult process and it should be recognised that all but one other council in the North East and many nationally have already addressed this issue. We also have a legal and moral duty to deal with it.

We value the work teaching assistants do with our county’s children and young people, and that is why we have tried to resolve the current inequality in a way that minimises the impact on affected staff and the education of young people in County Durham.

We will issue a further statement when we have absolute clarity on the implications of today’s results.”

– Durham County Council’s director of children’s services, Margaret Whellans

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Council's pay offer for teaching assistants rejected

Unison has announced its teaching assistant members in County Durham have 'overwhelmingly rejected' Durham County Council's revised offer in a long running dispute over pay cuts. They have been protesting over plans to pay teaching assistants for term-time only. Unison represents the majority of the 2700 teaching assistants involved.

Teaching assistants have been protesting outside County Hall in Durham Credit: ITV

The revised offer suggested to teaching assistants was two years of compensation as opposed to one. Unison has said that a ballot will now be held over potential strike action.

“Teaching assistants are angry at the way the council has behaved, threatening to sack them if they don’t sign new contracts.

“These are dedicated and committed individuals who are already on low wages. Many can barely make ends meet as it is.

“Striking is a last resort but these low-paid employees feel they have no choice but to consider taking action. Teaching assistants make a real difference in the classroom — teachers couldn’t teach without them and parents value them. It’s a pity the county council appears not to recognise their worth too.

“UNISON is fully behind the teaching assistants, whatever course of action they choose to take.”

– UNISON northern regional secretary Clare Williams

The GMB Union represents around 500 teaching assistants. Their members have voted to accept the revised offer by 53.5% to 46.5% on a turnout of around 74%. The union says they will not ballot over strike action but look to have discussions with Unison and Durham County Council over how to proceed.

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Durham taxi drivers to learn tell tale signs of sexual abuse

Taxi drivers in County Durham are to be trained to spot tell-tale signs of sexual exploitation of children.

All Hackney carriage and private hire drivers licensed by Durham County Council will undergo Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness training.

It's after more than half of people responding to a consultation supported such action.

Already 683 taxi drivers – almost 40 per cent of the 1,757 drivers licensed by the council – have received CSE awareness training on a voluntary basis.

Further free training sessions have been arranged by the Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board.

ALL applicants will be required to undergo the training before they can be licensed.

Existing drivers who haven’t already completed one of the training sessions will have to attend one by 1 September 2016.

56.2
% of respondents agreed that all taxi licence applicants should be required to undergo training
683
taxi drivers who have so far received CSE awareness training

“One of the primary aims of taxi licensing is to protect and safeguard the public, especially our children and young people who are among the most vulnerable groups in society,

“By making it a requirement that all drivers undergo CSE training, we hope that we can help them spot signs of abuse and act on it accordingly.”

– Cllr Brian Stephens, cabinet portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and local partnerships
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