Bin collections in Britain are under threat as refuse workers are headhunted by HGV firms attempting to plug a shortfall of 100,000 lorry drivers that has emptied shelves amid a continuous supply chain crisis.
A shortage of lorry drivers and food processors in Britain has been partially blamed on the new Brexit visa regime introduced on January 1, which penalises lower-skilled migrants in favour of those with qualifications.
Bosses said that global factors were important too, including Chinese port closures and a shortage of shipping containers during the COVID pandemic, as well as the cancellation of HGV tests throughout the crisis.
With shop shelves emptied, local councils now claim refuse operators are being approached to fulfil the deficit, where starting jobs now start at about £50,000 as demand surpasses supply.
However, officials have warned that bin and recycling workers are being recruited live on their rounds, which they fear may disrupt collections and lead to an increased amount of uncollected garbage.
Tony Wilkinson from the North Somerset Environment Company told the BBC it lost five employees in the past two weeks and said that several drivers were getting poached with offers from big companies.
Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s cabinet member responsible for waste, said one of its drivers was poached last week after working for the company for eleven years, and offered a 10 per cent hike in earnings.
He told the broadcaster that they actually couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team out on the rounds and they were extremely grateful to all of them for everything they’ve been doing.
But that the staff shortages, caused predominately by the extensive deficit of HGV drivers, had reached the level where they know they’re not going to have enough people available to provide the garden waste service for the next two weeks.
He said that HGV recruitment was a problem affecting the entire country with the Road Haulage Association estimating a shortfall of 100,000 drivers nationwide and that they were fighting hard to find ways to solve the crisis locally and would have a more precise understanding of compensation for their customers and what they will do to alleviate further impacts within the next two months.
He continues that however, the situation wouldn’t be resolved immediately without government intervention which was why they were also lobbying their MPs and ministers to fix things and that he was sorry that there was going to be this brief delay to the service that would inconvenience people.
If they end up taking all the bin men for other purposes, what do they think will happen to people’s trash? Perhaps they will want you to burn your waste in your garden, that’s if you even have one.
The other problem is that many people can’t afford to take their HGV test.
How much is an HGV test?
Theory Test Part 2 – £11. CPC Certification – £23. Driving Ability Test – £115 (weekdays) £141 (weekends) Practical Test – £55 (weekdays) £63 (weekends).
Why doesn’t Boris Johnson just pay out for people who want to work and get their HGV licence? Perhaps not indefinitely, but for a limited amount of time, so that we can get people back on the roads.
Boris Johnson said that he wants to get our economy back on track, well I’m no bright spark when it comes to commerce but sometimes, even if we’re a tad hesitant. We have to invest our time, invest our resources and invest our effort, which means paying out more money.
And Boris, if you make the investments right, this country will make more than great earnings. They will get excellent experience, it will boost people’s confidence and hopefully success.
However, you have to invest in the people, and you have to treat employees like they make a difference, and Boris if you do that, then they will because a person who feels valued will always do more than what’s required.