General Weekly Update on Performance

Published: 30 July 2021

Operational Update

In terms of catching up the outstanding recycling, the six garden waste crews have been freed up to support the remaining collections as these have been left for the longest period of time, In addition the volume of recycling is causing issues for residents in terms of lack of storage for the build-up, and also impacting on the street scene in many areas. The crews that we have been able to deploy have struggled due to the volume of recycling which has built up over the past weeks, and the associated increased tip time, as they are now having to go to the tip three times a day rather than once or twice. This incurs additional downtime of around 90 minutes, depending on the location they are collecting from. However, progress has been made and all of the remaining Wednesday collections have been completed together with much of Thursday’s (by end of play today). Once the recycling has been completed, crews will focus on the remaining garden waste from last week (most of Thursday’s and all of Friday’s scheduled collections).

As of first thing this morning, the situation with all of the collection crews was:

  • Recycling – have completed last Wednesday’s and some of Thursday’s outstanding recycling collections. It’s currently anticipated with current resource levels, and Saturday deployment, that last Friday’s (23 July) recycling collections will be completed by end of play on Monday 2 August. Today’s (Friday 30 July) scheduled recycling collections will start next Tuesday (3 August), and all of next week’s recycling collections will take place later than scheduled. This is likely to have a similar knock on effect into the following week, but if current resource levels can be maintained, we currently expect recycling collections to revert to their normal schedule by the middle of that week. This will obviously be brought forward if staff & vehicle resources can be increased.
  • Refuse – all crews deployed as scheduled on today’s collections – no anticipated delays into next week.
  • Food – all crews deployed as scheduled on today’s collections – no anticipated delays into next week.
  • Garden waste – catching up with last Thursday’s & Friday’s work, currently expected to be completed by the end of Wednesday next week. Garden waste scheduled collections are currently suspended from 26 July to 27 August, and this will be reviewed next week when we have further updates on the delayed garden waste & recycling collections.

Communications

Here is the latest update for the TMBC website this afternoon, (being updated now).

Update: Friday 30 July 2021

Collections are still subject to delay and suspension due to driver shortages. We apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.

  • recycling (green bin and boxes) – we are prioritising recycling collections not yet completed from last week. Due to the volume of waste to collect and the ongoing staff shortages, these are now expected to be completed by the end of Monday 2 August. Collections due Friday 30 July and in w/c 2 August will therefore be delayed by up to several days, so please do not put your recycling out until the revised date below. We will be giving more advice for residents on when to put their recycling out next week

Collection date: Friday 30 July
Revised date: Tuesday 3 August*

Collection date: Monday 2 August

Revised date: Thursday 5 August*

*Please note that these revised dates are subject to change depending on staff resources

  • garden waste – collections have been suspended from Monday 26 July for at least four weeks. Subscriptions will be extended for the period the suspension is in place. Outstanding pick-ups from last Thursday and Friday are now scheduled to be completed next week
  • refuse (black bin) – all crews are working on this week’s scheduled collections so please put your black bin out on your normal scheduled collection day
  • food waste – all crews are working on this week’s scheduled collections so please put your food waste bin out on your normal scheduled collection day, even if your recycling is delayed

The Media team will be posting on social media channels later today.

Urbaser Update

Here is the latest update from Urbaser on measures being taken to try to alleviate the impact of driver shortages:

  • We have increased our own drivers rate to encourage staff to stay and make us more attractive as an employment option for drivers looking to join Urbaser directly. Average increase of 17%
  • By increasing driver pay, we have changed all drivers to a 5 day week from a 4 day week. We now have all of our employed drivers working 5 days per week instead of 4.
  • We have engaged with all local Urbaser depots, Welwyn, Waltham Forest and Dartford for support from drivers within the business. This enquiry for staff continues daily.
  • We have used staff where possible from TW to support. Each day we assess where the need for the resource is greater and move staff around accordingly.
  • We have deployed weekends with staff from T&M, TW and Dartford to reduced outstanding numbers. Weekend deployment will continue during the driver shortage to assist in catching up where possible without impacting on the weeks deployment needs.
  • Discussed with our existing drivers about deferring their annual leave to help us out with numbers. This has had a small benefit as one driver has agreed to change their holiday.
  • Approached directly all agencies both local and national to provide additional drivers. This continues daily, we have had an increase in inductions and one agency is bringing in additional staff from wider areas to support us, including five loaders from  East London
  • Discussed with other companies that deploy waste drivers to hire drivers to us. Made contact again with Countrystyle and Mitie who are assessing if and where they can assist us with crews.
  • Contacted HGV driving schools to work a process out with newly qualified drivers. We are continually contacting and following up in case anything changes.
  • Spoken to army resettlement centres about acquiring drivers who have recently left the armed forces. We are continually contacting and following up in case anything changes.
  • We are still putting 6 of our own staff through the HGV training which has now commenced and will continue over the next 8-10 weeks. First two drivers to commence in late August.

In terms of the impact of Covid, currently three Urbaser staff across the partnership contract are affected, with one testing positive, one self-isolating due to close family Members having tested positive, and one having been “pinged” by the NHS app. The latter is expected to return next week following a hopefully negative test result. The Service Delivery Manager at TW’s depot has been ill with Covid but returned to work yesterday.

Industry Updates

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57983698
https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/bin-collection-delays-could-last-until-autumn-after-brexit-and-pandemic-causes-driver-shortage/
https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/19470100.southampton-bin-delays-national-staff-shortage-continues/
https://www.mrw.co.uk/news/government-faces-up-to-hgv-driver-shortage-21-07-2021/

Members Enquiries

Specific questions asked by Members:

(Carried forward from last week’s update)

Cllr Hood: How many permanent staff did Urbaser employ in the Tonbridge and Malling part of the contract when they started operating under NOM conditions and how many of these staff are still employed by Urbaser, essentially how many employees have left the contractor?

Awaiting feedback from Urbaser’s HR department – I’m informed they are dealing with recruitment issues at this time

Cllr Hood: Can we confirm if Death in Service protection was transferred to former employees of Veolia when staff were transferred to Urbaser through the TUPE process?

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations applied to all staff employed by Veolia who transferred over to Urbaser at the start of the contract in March 2019. Personal pension schemes, which may include clauses for death in service, are covered by TUPE. Occupational pension schemes are exempt. We have asked Urbaser to confirm how many staff with personal pension schemes which included death in service clauses transferred at the start of the contract in March 2019.

Awaiting feedback from Urbaser’s HR department – I’m informed they are dealing with recruitment issues at this time