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Council to tackle driver shortages

Posted on 27 August 2021

Better pay and conditions for South Holland's waste crew drivers are among recommendations to be discussed by council leaders that will improve delivery of key services to residents, including waste collection.

With a national shortage of drivers affecting many organisations and businesses up and down the country, South Holland District Council are looking at ways to attract new drivers to join the council's Environmental Services team, as well as offering further support, training and development opportunities to the workforce.

Cabinet Members will meet on Tuesday 7 September to also discuss improvements to working patterns and a training programme for existing staff.

While the Council has maintained its weekly refuse and recycling collections throughout the COVID pandemic, as well as fortnightly garden waste subscription collections, current staffing issues ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend mean that households who usually have their green-bagged recycling collected on Fridays will be affected for the first time.

All other collections during that week, including refuse, recycling and garden waste, will still go ahead, albeit a day later than usual as a result of the bank holiday Monday.

With service delivery now being impacted, and with the shortage of drivers reported to be around 76,000 nationally, the council is acting quickly to try and avoid the issue happening again in the District.

Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for Environmental Services, said: "Waste collection is one of the cornerstone council services to our community. It is therefore vitally important that we do everything we can to protect and strengthen the resilience of the service as we face these new challenges.

"We need to develop a skilled and dedicated workforce and commit to generating long-term job opportunities within our local economy and reduce the need to depend on external providers. I trust that everyone will appreciate the importance of these proposals and support our plans to improve the working environment and opportunities for all those working in this vital council service."