GB News London reporter Paul Hawkins has revealed that refuse collectors are being poached by HGV firms as a result of the driver shortage in the UK. According to the Road Haulage Association, there is a shortage of more than 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK. Massive issues in global supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as Brexit rules changes have left some shop shelves empty.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Hawkins said: “You would have thought that there was a slightly more professional way to approach bin men.
“I’m not saying that all the bin men have been approached in this way, but that’s what Somerset County Council have reported that bin men on their rounds have been approached by HGV firms to come and work for them.
“But that kind of illustrates the depth of the crisis.
He went on: “In fact, Waitrose reportedly offering more to recruit bin men than they are some of their executives in their head office.
“Starting salaries are 53,000 pounds if you want to go and drive a lorry for them, compared to doing an office job in their head office.”
The host commented: “Yeah, I mean, there’s an argument to say maybe, maybe that’s the answer if there’s a shortage of truck drivers, you’re going to have to pay him more.”
Refuse truck drivers are being poached by other businesses while on their rounds.
The refuse industry fears collections could be disrupted if more bin men are to leave their jobs.
The national shortage of lorry drivers has been caused by many EU workers leaving the UK following Brexit as well as the limitations on travel and the high costs of testing Covid caused.
Tony Wilkinson, a supervisor for the North Somerset Environment Company said: “A lot of drivers are getting poached”.
The company lost five employees in the past two weeks.
Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s cabinet member, said one of its drivers of 11 years was poached after being offered a 10 percent pay hike.
He said the council now does not have enough staff to collect garden waste bins for the next fortnight.
He told the BBC: “We really couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team out on the rounds and I am very grateful to all of them for everything they’ve been doing.
“But the staff shortages – caused predominantly by the widespread shortage of HGV drivers – have reached the level where we know we are not going to have enough people available to provide the garden waste service for the next two weeks.
“HGV driver recruitment is an issue affecting the whole country with the Road Haulage Association estimating a shortfall of 100,000 drivers nationally.”