Serco bosses 'sincerely apolgise' for delays in bin and waste collections in Milton Keynes

More than 25 estates have experienced overruns in the past two weeks

By Sally Murrer
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:30 pm

Serco bosses have apologised after it was revealed that more than 25 estates in Milton Keynes have experienced overruns of food and green waste collections in the past two weeks.

Conservatives councillor said yesterday (Monday) there has been an "explosion" in missed collections - and they warned the situation could get worse.

Emails were sent out to dozens of ward councillors this week stating: “Serco unfortunately will not complete food and garden waste (green bin) collections in the areas below, a loss of operational staff due to local LGV shortages and an Increase in Covid cases has had an impact in today’s service.”

Many waste collections have been missed in MK but Serco is working to catch up

Serco's contract manager Roy Fulton told the Citizen: “We would like to sincerely apologise to those residents who are currently experiencing delays with their weekly food and garden waste collections."

He added: “Our team in Milton Keynes are currently experiencing a high number of Covid absences. This coupled with the national LGV driver shortage, affecting many other councils and businesses, is having a significant impact.

"We understand that recent reliability issues have seen our services levels fall short of what Milton Keynes council and their residents expect and deserve from us and would like to provide reassurance that these changes will see a significant improvement to collections."

"However, our waste and recycling crews are working extremely hard to minimise any delays and I would like to thank them for their help and support.

Serco lorry drivers are being encouraged to stay

Mr Fulton said Serco was actively running local and national LGV recruitment campaigns and was offering flexible hours, job sharing and enhanced benefits packages and support, through third sector organisations, to help longer-term unemployed drivers back into work.

However, many Serco workers are reported to be furious over an incentive payment recently handed out to bin lorry drivers.

They claim the drivers have recently been given a £5,000 rise, which company bosses describe as a 'market alignment allowance'.

One worker told the Citizen: " All bin lorry drivers get it and not the guys who throw the bags in the back of the cart and do all the donkey work... We are are up in arms regarding this.

Another added: "All these bonuses yet vehicles are in disrepair. They're driving in first gear and cannot get into second, seat belts do not work and doors don't shut."

He said workers believed the pay increase was introduced "because so many employees are leaving Serco".

Mr Fulton told the Citizen: “We have introduced a market alignment allowance for our LGV drivers across many of our contracts, including Milton Keynes. This allowance is not a bonus, it is paid monthly and we will not ask our drivers to repay it should they decide to leave the business."

He added: "The allowance has been introduced to both retain our long serving, experienced drivers and attract new drivers into the organisation during this period when many companies are experiencing recruitment challenges, resulting from the national HGV driver shortage.

The company has also encouraged employees to go through a fast-track driver training programme to become drivers.

"We have recently had five vehicles delivered to support our refuse and recycling collections across Milton Keynes," said Mr Fulton.

"We are actively running local and national LGV recruitment campaigns and are offering flexible hours, job sharing and enhanced benefits packages and support, through third sector organisations, to help longer-term unemployed drivers back into work.

"We are also growing and developing our employees through a fast-track driver training programme, this year alone we have enrolled nine of our team onto the programme and are delighted to report that three have already passed their tests.”