Driver shortage: Refuse collectors poached on the job

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Waste truck
Image caption,
Council waste driver are being poached to drive lorries, where there is a driver shortage

Waste truck drivers are being poached by other businesses, some while on their rounds.

There is a shortage of more than 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK, according to the Road Haulage Association.

Tony Wilkinson from the North Somerset Environment Company said it lost five employees in the past two weeks.

The refuse industry fears collections could be disrupted if more staff are enticed to leave their jobs.

The national shortage of lorry drivers has been caused by the departure of many EU workers following Brexit and there have been delays to driver training and testing.

Tony Wilkinson, a supervisor and driver for the North Somerset Environment Company, said "a lot of drivers are getting poached" with offers from big companies.

The problem has contributed to North Somerset Council suspending its garden waste collection scheme for two weeks.

Councillor Mike Soloman, the council's cabinet member responsible for waste, said one of its drivers was poached on the job last week after working for the company for 11 years. He was offered a 10% hike in earnings.

Image caption,
Councillor Mike Soloman, the North Somerset council cabinet member responsible for waste, said he hopes to resume garden waste collections soon

The council hopes to resume its garden waste collection scheme as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that up to 50,000 more HGV driving tests will be made available each year by shortening the application process and the tests themselves.

It is hoped this will tackle the driver shortage problem which has hit the supply of food, petrol and other goods across the UK.

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