Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Mr Barrow (Cabinet Member for Environment), seconded by Mr Dignum, moved the recommendation of the Cabinet.
He explained that there was a serious problem in recruiting and retaining suitably qualified and good calibre HGV divers in the waste collection service. This arose because HGV drivers’ salaries had fallen well behind local market rates and those paid in neighbouring authorities’ areas.
He explained that driving a Waste Collection vehicle was a skilled job, and nothing like that of a long distance lorry driver, requiring safely stopping and starting in narrow streets, and reversing into difficult places. In addition, the HGV drivers were responsible for the management of their crew and working with in-cab information and communication technology. Waste collection was one of the four most dangerous occupations in the UK.
Nine drivers had left in 2014/5, stating pay as the main reason for leaving, and while some had been recruited many had only stayed a short while. Agency drivers to cover unplanned shortfalls cost considerably more, and were not always available.
The recommendation was to increase drivers pay with an additional market supplement, amounting to an increase of 18.9%. At the same time, drivers of road sweep vehicles, which did not require the same level of skill, would be increased by a lesser amount. These increases would be paid as a ‘market supplement’ and not an increase in basic wage.
The recommendations would add £128,286 to the annual pay budget. Current year budget projections indicate that the overall cost can be met by departmental savings, with the Council’s 5 year financial projections indicating that the cost can be accommodated without significant risk to the Council’s overall position.
Members expressed concern that HGV wages at Chichester Contract Services had fallen so far behind market rates. They felt that wages should be kept under review to ensure this situation did not arise again.
Mr Budge asked whether payment as a market supplement, rather than as part of the basic wage would have any impact on drivers’ pensions. The Chief Executive replied that she thought it would not, but she would check and let members know.
That, in order to address HGV driver recruitment and retention difficulties, the CCS employee budget be increased as set out in paragraphs 5.1 and 7.1 of the confidential Cabinet report, with effect from 1 January 2016, to be funded from virement in 2015/16, and from base budget thereafter.
Publication date: 21/01/2016
Date of decision: 15/12/2015
Decided at meeting: 15/12/2015 - Council