Dorset council is launching a review into the pay of drivers working for the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP).
The review was launched at Dorset’s October cabinet meeting, when Cllr Anthony Alford – Dorset’s portfolio holder for community and regulatory services – said the council had concluded that the DWP was paying drivers less than “neighbouring authorities and comparable companies”.
This came after concerns were raised that “problems” with waste services in the Wareham area stemmed “from a shortage of serviceable vehicles combined with a chronic lack of qualified drivers”.
Lib Dem councillor Nick Ireland, who raised the concern, noted that three recent vacancies for permanent driver positions had received no new applicants.
Two applications were received from existing drivers who were already covering vacancies at DWP, one of whom could not cover the necessary shifts for the new roles.
It also emerged that while the DWP was paying £9.03p per hour, other nearby authorities were starting on £10.67 an hour and enjoyed better overtime and Bank Holiday rates.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting after confirming the review, Cllr Alford said: “Officers are working closely with HR colleagues to explore all options on pay and grading, including the option of a market supplement being applied to DWP driver posts.
“Officers are working closely with HR colleagues to explore all options on pay and grading”
“In the meantime, drivers from other depots will continue to assist on the collection rounds in the Wareham area and we are also conducting in-house training for loaders to become drivers. While taking on temporary staff has been necessary, we should point out that we are not currently exceeding DWP staffing or hire vehicle budgets.”
The move comes amid broader concerns in the waste and recycling industry that skilled drivers are proving difficult to recruit, partially put down to uncertain economic and political times (see letsrecycle.com story).
Other points raised in the meeting outlined that many drivers had also left in recent months to join “other more lucrative roles”.
It was also noted that in a detailed document to Dorset Council from an agency supplier back in May, no other local employer of the many quoted paid less than DWP.