Bin men banned from taking holidays over Christmas period

Council refuse collectors are being banned from taking holidays during the Christmas period in a bid to prevent missed collections. Contractor Biffa has introduced a Discount Holidays © holiday ban which will run from December 27 into the middle of January for bin men in North Somerset. The amount of waste and recycling historically increases after Christmas and it is hoped this ban will mean there will be enough staff on hand to cope with the demand.

Biffa is also planning to suspend green waste collections for three weeks after Christmas to allow crews to catch up. Despite the ban on taking annual leave, waste crews will still get Christmas Day and Boxing Day off.

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What North Somerset Council has said

Spokeswoman for the authority Zoe Briffitt said: “Christmas and New Year is the busiest part of the year, by far, for our recycling and waste services. “Biffa need additional staff and vehicles during this period.

“Some days the crew will have double the amount of recycling to clear. “Staff work incredibly hard during this period and it is normal for holidays to be carefully managed to ensure that the appropriate number of people are available.”

Discount Holidays © Holiday ban comes after months of issues

The news comes after months of problems with waste collections[1], including missed collections across the district which saw maggots living in people’s bins[2] while others threatened to dump their rubbish on councillors’ doorsteps[3]. The issues came after Biffa took over North Somerset’s waste services in April, in a GBP7million deal.

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A public ‘sorry’[4] was issued as missed collections were blamed on heat, staff sickness, crew shortages and a lack of trucks[5], crew shortage and not enough trucks.

In an initial bid to improve collections, Biffa introduced a new regime which saw rounds re-routed and crews are now sent to one specific area five days a week, allowing them to manage rounds better and ensure all collections are made.

But issues with missed collections continued and Biffa has been fined 558 times for ‘poor service delivery’[6] – paying GBP8,000 in penalities. Mrs Briffitt added: “The service has significantly improved in the last month as Biffa has put additional resources on some of the routes. “We have noticed a sharp decrease in the number of complaints about missed collections.

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“We would urge people to help the crews by correctly sorting their recycling.

“This will potentially save valuable minutes on every collection.

“With recycling rates doubling over the Christmas period this will dramatically help the crews who are already under increased pressure.”

References

  1. ^ months of problems with waste collections (www.bristolpost.co.uk)
  2. ^ maggots living in people’s bins (www.bristolpost.co.uk)
  3. ^ dump their rubbish on councillors’ doorsteps (www.bristolpost.co.uk)
  4. ^ A public ‘sorry’ (www.bristolpost.co.uk)
  5. ^ blamed on heat, staff sickness, crew shortages and a lack of trucks (www.bristolpost.co.uk)
  6. ^ Biffa has been fined 558 times for ‘poor service delivery’ (www.bristolpost.co.uk)

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