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Christmas bin collections face crisis as drivers quit to join ‘highest bidder’ hauliers



A number of local councils in London, Devon, Surrey and Cambridgeshire have already had to delay bin collections due to a shortage of drivers, but experts fear the problem will only be exacerbated in the run-up to Christmas.

Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said the recent shortfall of lorry drivers in the UK has meant drivers are now chasing after jobs with “the highest bidder”.

He said: “The shortage of heavy goods drivers is having a profound impact.

“If you’re a driver you can go to the highest bidder and that is often the supermarket hauliers.

“It’s driving up costs for everyone.”

Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association told Metro there is currently a 15 percent vacancy rate for drivers working for waste contractors, although some regions are facing a shortfall of up to 20 percent. 

Last week, the Guardian reported six of 13 bin collection drivers working for Ribble Valley council in Lancashire had quit and the council is now struggling to fill the vacancies. 

Croydon council has warned locals there will be a “severe” impact on collection services, saying binmen “will get to you as soon as possible.”

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In a bid to stop drivers quitting to find more lucrative jobs, two of the largest waste collection services, Amey and Veolia, are reported to be offering a bonus of £1,500 to recruit new drivers.

To make matters worse, household waste is usually increased by around 30 percent in the festive season, which could mean households will have to live alongside festering rubbish until the bins can be collected.

The news comes amid fears traditional Christmas foods such as pigs-in-blankets and turkey may be missing from supermarket shelves this year due to a lack of workers.

Kate Martin, chairwoman of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association, told the BBC: “This year it’s looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we’re talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm.

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“It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier of turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground; only because the big processers know that they will not get them processed.”


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