Bin lorry loaders in Calderdale retraining as drivers to overcome shortages after months of missed collections

Loaders at a recycling company and retraining as drivers to help a council overcome driver shortages amid months of missed or delayed collection issues.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:26 pm

Four loaders – staff whose job is normally to put the contents of household recycling bins and bags onto the wagon – are retraining as drivers and the issue is related to a national shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, Calderdale councillors heard.

Calderdale Council’s recycling contract is held by Suez – who have been eight drivers short – and at full council Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) asked what steps were being taken to improve things.

“Pubs without beer, chicken restaurants without chicken and the NHS without blood test tubes – all have been blamed on a shortage of HGV drivers.

Rubbisg loaders in Calderdale

“This year recycling collections across Calderdale have faced severe disruption, particularly in the last three months.

“I’d like to know what Calderdale Council and Suez are doing to address this?” he said.

Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) appreciated there had been problems.

“I don’t know about beer or chicken but one thing that all our residents are concerned about is the frequency of their recycling collections.

“It’s been nationally mentioned there is a shortage of HGV drivers.

“We understand Suez are currently eight drivers short and that has meant that most weeks over the summer we have dropped at least two rounds.

“We have done our best by asking people to work at weekends and so on, but in terms of addressing drivers we have currently got four loaders training as HGV drivers,” she said.

Coun Lynn said DVLA delays with paperwork were an issue but it was hoped within a few months the service would have more drivers.

She said no-one could blame drivers for going to work for better pay if they were offered it elsewhere but in the medium term training more drivers was the answer.

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