AN MP is determined to prove a union boss is talking rubbish – by spending a day on the bins in Burnley.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, challenged over-65 MPs to go out with refuse collectors for a day, amid protests over the prospect of the retirement age being raised.
Gordon Birtwistle is thought to be the only Parliamentarian to have taken Mr Prentis at his word and he is now preparing for his round on Thursday next week.
Mr Birtwistle, 68, said he would have to undergo training next Tuesday with council contractors Veolia before he dons a high-visibility jacket and heads out.
He added: “I was doing triathlons until I was 61 and I’m going to have some training before I can work on the bins.
“Mr Prentis made the challenge at the end of February and I don’t think anyone else has taken him up on it yet.
“I just hope that the people in Burnley will be generous to me while I’m on my round.”
Formerly as council leader the MP has praised the work of Veolia, which has held the borough’s household waste contract for several years.
And he is more than accustomed to tramping the streets, either as a ward councillor or canvassing before elections.
The MP is considering seeking sponsorship, in aid of prostate cancer charities.
Mr Prentis said: “It is refreshing to find an MP willing to see for himself what a tough job working on the bins is. We have not had many, if any, takers-up until now.
“It will drive home the message that government plans to raise the retirement age will mean some people will be forced to work until they drop.”