Waste Collection Services - Update 4 July



Wiltshire Council Briefing Note

(SEE UPDATES BELOW)




Update 4 July 2022


Due to severe staff shortages, our waste collection service provider, Hills Municipal Collections, is unable to provide all waste collection services as we would wish.


To enable the delivery of essential collection services such as clinical, residual waste, and garden waste some recycling rounds are running one, two, or in some instances three days late.


We have set up a webpage to provide a weekday daily update of the locations of any rescheduled collections. People are asked to check that webpage prior to reporting a missed bin collection to the council if they can. The page can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling-collection-service-disruption.

Understandably, we are receiving a high level of correspondence about the waste issues, and we do not have the capacity to respond to every one, but the webpage provides useful information and clarity for residents.


If your recycling container is not emptied on the scheduled collection day, please leave it out and it will be emptied as soon as possible.


You do not need to report a missed collection or contact us as we know there is an issue. However, if your collection is more than three days late you can go online to report the missed collection at https://ilforms.wiltshire.gov.uk/wastemissedcollection.


Rounds will be operating on Saturdays to minimise the disruption, and our service provider is working with the council to explore the possibility of operating on Sundays too.


This issue is one of our highest priorities to resolve. We are working closely with Hills Municipal Collections to manage the company’s severe staffing shortage and ensure there is a strong action plan in place to improve the situation as quickly as possible, so they are able to fulfil their contractual obligations.


Our service provider is also working hard to recruit to fill the current vacancies. For more information about these, please visit https://jobs.cmdrecruitment.com.



 

Recycling collections to resume from 21 March Hills Municipal Collections and GMB Union have confirmed they have reached an agreement, which means the waste collection strike has now concluded with immediate effect, and our recycling collections will resume next week. Our contractor Hills Municipal Collections has confirmed those workers that were on strike will return to work on Friday 18 March. Therefore, our kerbside recycling collections will resume as normal from Monday 21 March. Please put your blue lidded bins and black boxes out on your scheduled day from Monday 21 March. Due to the recent disruption there may still be slight delays to the collection due to the higher volumes of materials we expect, so if your recycling containers aren’t emptied on your scheduled day please leave them out, and they will be collected as soon as possible. You will still be able to leave additional recycling that has mounted up during the disruption; please leave any additional recycling materials in non-black bags or containers (such as plastic crates) next to the recycling bins and the crews will collect them. Household and garden waste collections will continue as normal so please put those bins out on your normal scheduled day. If those are not collected as scheduled they will be collected as soon as possible. In summary, the key things you need to know:

  • Recycling collection services will resume from Monday 21 March

  • Please put out your black box and blue lidded bin on your scheduled day from 21 March

  • If recycling bins are not emptied on your scheduled day please leave them out, and they will be collected as soon as possible

  • Any additional recycling materials stockpiled during the disruption will be collected. Please put those items in non-black bags or containers (such as a plastic crate) next to your recycling bins

  • Household and garden waste collections continue as normal so please put those bins out on your normal collection day. There could still be slight delays so please leave your bins out until collected

  • If you’re unsure on when your collection day is, please visit our website.

  • If you have any queries please visit our FAQs


 

Disruption to waste services from 7 March onwards, as a result of planned industrial action by some workers at Hills Municipal Collections.

GMB Union confirmed that industrial action would take place from 7 March initially for two weeks. Although the previous planned industrial action planned for 28 February was suspended, Hills received confirmation from the GMB union that the latest pay offer was rejected. The number of union members striking has been reduced following UNISON members accepting the pay deal.


Update 17 March 2022


Recycling collections suspension EXTENDED


Due to further industrial action confirmed by the GMB Union, we have made the difficult decision to extend our suspension of recycling collection services (BLUE BIN AND BLACK BOX) until the week of 4 April.


This does not affect household waste or garden waste collections, which will continue.


The GMB Union, which is in dispute with our contractor Hills Municipal Collections, has confirmed they will be striking until at least 2 April.


This means that recycling collection services won’t resume until the week of 4 April, and not the previously stated 21 March. Please do not put your blue lidded bins and black boxes out until your next collection day from 4 April onwards.


When recycling services do resume from 4 April, waste crews will accept additional materials that don’t fit in blue lidded bins or black boxes, so please leave them in bags, bin bags and crates and they will be picked up if they are left next to the recycling containers. However, if you are unable to store additional materials at home you can take them to your nearest household recycling centre (HRC). All Wiltshire HRCs are operating as normal.


We have a dedicated FAQ page with a host of information and this will be updated for the duration of the industrial action with everything you need on any change or disruption to waste services.


Please continue to put out your household and garden waste bins out on your normal collection days, and if for any reason they aren’t emptied as scheduled then they will be the following day where possible.

 

Update 11 March 2022


We wanted to update you on the ongoing impact of the industrial action between our contractor Hills Municipal Collections and the GMB union, which is continuing to disrupt our waste and recycling collection services.

Background To recap, some Hills Municipal Collections workers represented by the GMB Union are taking industrial action, in the form of striking, until 18 March. However, unless agreement is reached between the two parties then there potentially could be further periods of industrial action soon. UNISON and UNITE union members working for Hills Municipal Collections have now accepted a 7.1% pay increase.

Safety concerns We anticipated and had planned for some disruption to waste services as a result of the industrial action, but frustratingly we have had scenes at our various depots where picket lines regularly exceed the number of people typically allowed under picketing guidance and vehicles appear to have been intentionally prevented from leaving the sites. We have serious safety concerns arising from these activities at the picket lines, and have published a full response to these, which you can read here www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/council-condemns-depot-scenes

Current impact on services Due to the knock-on effect of the disruption at our depots, outlined in the above section, we made the difficult decision to immediately suspend the collection of household recycling materials (blue lidded bins and black boxes), and we currently expect those services to resume the week of 21 March. This was always a component of our contingency plans, but one we had hoped not to have to implement.

The suspension of recycling services does not impact on the collection of household residual waste and garden waste, and we are advising residents to put those bins out on their collection day as normal and they will be emptied, if not on their normal day, then a day or so after.

However, despite the challenges we’re pleased that both special recovery and scheduled collection rounds for residual and garden waste are still making good progress. Hills Municipal Collections are confident that all household residual waste will be completed by Saturday 12 March. Garden waste collections in the north and west of the county are also looking to be completed by the end of Saturday 12 March, but some garden waste collections in the south of the county may not be fully received by then. These will be prioritised w/c 14 March, along with the residual waste collections. This positive service recovery will take us into next week in a strong position. We thank the Hills workers that are working for their efforts in recovering the waste collection service in really challenging circumstances.


Next steps As stated above, we hope to resume the collection of household recycling materials (blue lidded bins and black boxes) during the week of 21 March. However, there may well be further industrial action by GMB. If that is the case, we would look to review and implement our contingency plans again.

We’d expect that if further strike action did take place, and we don’t see the kind of disruption we’ve referred to in the ‘safety concerns’ section of this briefing, we would hope to not have to suspend any services, though some delays to collections would still be likely. However, this would all depend on if and when GMB members decided to strike – and we will, of course, keep you updated on this to ensure both members and our residents have as much notice as possible. As you can imagine, this situation is very fluid at present, but we have plans in place to limit the impact on residents as much as possible and we are in frequent contact with Hills Municipal Collections throughout this process.

Mitigating against excess customer contacts

Due to the wholesale suspension of kerbside Mixed Dry Recycling collection service, our waste and customer services teams will be unable to reply to missed collection queries in relation to that service, between 7 – 18 March. Email autoreplies have been modified to reflect this, and the online missed collection reporting forms also no longer allow the reporting of “missed” mixed dry recycling bins. Users of these online forms will see an automated message explaining why this facility has been disabled.


 

Update 8 March 2022


Important waste industrial action update: temporary suspension of recycling services (BLUE BIN & BLACK BOX).

Some Hills Municipal Collection workers are currently taking strike action, and this is due to continue until 18 March. As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend mixed dry recycling (blue lidded bin) and glass (black box) collections between 7 and 18 March. If you have already put out your blue lidded bin and black box for collection, please take them back in until your next scheduled collection date. We will collect additional recycling on or after 21 March, in your blue lidded bin and black box. Alternatively, you can take waste that will not fit in your bin to any of our household recycling centres. Put your household waste and garden waste bins out on your scheduled collection day. Please note: this change does not affect your general household waste or garden waste collections. During the industrial action period please continue to put your household and garden waste bins out by 7am on your scheduled collection day. If you're not sure what day your collections are, visit the calendar page on our website and enter your postcode. If a household or garden waste bin is not emptied as scheduled, please leave it out and it will be emptied the following day, where possible.


 

Keep up to date If there are any significant disruptions to services we will update our waste pages and please keep an eye on our Twitter feed. Please also read our latest news story on the ongoing situation. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this disruption, and we are working with Hills to minimise the impact as much as possible. This planned industrial action is completely out of our control. Thank you for your understanding during this time.


The industrial action is out of our control and in the meantime, we are working with Hills Municipal Collections to mitigate disruption as quickly as possible. We are advising residents to put their bins out on their collection day by 7am and should they not be collected for any reason then we will arrange to collect them the following day where possible.

This is a fluid situation, but our main aim is to ensure that if for any reason our schedule slips, that we get back on track as soon as possible.

Despite this possible disruption caused by this, we are very pleased to say that our new waste round collections, which began on 28 February, have gone incredibly smoothly so far with very few issues reported. This gives us confidence that should any timings slip then we will catch up quickly.

Wiltshire Council - Waste Management

Collection Day Calendar: Waste collection calendar - Wiltshire Council.