Truck drivers offered £1K bonus if they join Somerset waste collection team

Truck drivers are being offered £1,000 by Somerset's waste collection service if they join as full-time staff.

Staff shortages and the impact of Covid-19, including the so-called 'pingdemic' means Somerset Waste Partnership is struggling to keep up with bin collections.

It works with contractor SUEZ and said the new incentive was reflective of the tough competition in Somerset with the shortage of Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers made more acute by the county having multiple distribution hubs.

Matt Canning, SUEZ Contract Director, said the job is an essential service and that people who join will be rewarded for their invaluable work.

He said: "Working in recycling keeps you fit and helps the environment. For those who want to develop their careers, there is plenty of scope to get on, such as the loader-to-driver courses.

"Our LGV drivers are working in Somerset, starting early but finishing early, with no overnight stays away from home. Our crews are part of the local community, providing an essential service in all weathers; it’s rewarding work."

It comes as bin collections around the West Country have been delayed or cancelled due to staff self-isolating.

Those who join the company as LGV drivers would be entitled to the £1,000 after passing a probationary period with "associated performance standards".

To keep up with waste collections, SUEZ is also training some of its recycling loaders to be LGV drivers with 23 candidates already going through an "intensive course".

Existing drivers are also receiving a regular £50 bonus for hitting targets and a £1.2k retention bonus.

Although the lorry company is using agency drivers in the short term, they say more than 25 new full-time permanent LGV drivers/loaders are needed to work on collecting local recycling.

Somerset Waste Partnership Managing Director Mickey Green said: “The welcome bonus comes on top of a retention bonus for drivers, a weekly performance bonus for all staff, and considerable efforts to recruit, retrain and retain drivers.

"These measures will take time to have impact, and we apologise to residents of Somerset for the ongoing service disruption."

Benefits of working as an LGV driver, according to SUEZ:

  • No lone working - part of a team working together to make more than400,000 kerbside collections per week.

  • Starting early means a more family-friendly early finish, Monday to Friday.

  • No working away from home or overnight stays to contend with.

  • SUEZ offers training and development opportunities and a generous benefits package.

The full job details are on the companies website and applications can be made there, via post or via email, to SUEZ can also be called to discuss the role on 07970 724559.