LETTER: Local government job titles are sign of the times

I HAVE often been amused and intrigued by titles given to local government posts nowadays compared to the straightforward, no-nonsense job descriptions of yesteryear.

Sunday, 5th February 2012, 2:29 pm

Gone are the town clerks, borough treasurers, borough surveyors and water engineers, replaced by chief executives, plus numerous other grandiose titles afforded to the people presently carrying out the duties of their predecessors – and there seem to be a heck of a lot more of ’em!

Back in the old days we had clerks, senior clerks, chief clerks, assistants, chief assistants and so on, simple but clear indications of an employee’s place in the clerical hierarchy. Similarly, there were caretakers, cleaners etc., and various “chaps”, all with clearly defined titles such as rent chaps, insurance chaps, gas chaps, coyle chaps. These job titles are almost extinct now, and are destined to follow knockers-up and chuckers-out, who are long gone.

All that brings me to waste disposal. As a young kid growing up in Burnley I would be out playing with my mates on the back street when suddenly the cry would go up “dustbinchapseracommin”.

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We would stop whatever we were doing, wait, and watch the progress of the dustcart along the back street. I, for one, was fascinated by the rhythmic grace of the men; the lift, swing out, dump and return of the bin to its place. Simple, unfussy and effective.

Times have changed, and now we have clear directions on how we must prepare to have our waste collected (by operatives, I think) all done, I concede, in the pursuit of greater efficiency.

To me, however, if I am in the kitchen with the window open and I hear these familiar sounds approaching, it still means, and will always mean... Dustbinchapseracummin.