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Newark and Sherwood District Council LGV drivers set to receive huge £5,000 bonus if they stay for next 12 months

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Council light goods vehicle drivers are set to receive a massive £5,000 bonus if they promise not to jump ship in the next 12 months, writes Adam Toms.

Newark and Sherwood District Council is to pay the bonus worth more than £160,000 after senior officals took an urgent decision, which Thursday's policy and finance committee will note.

Council documents have revealed the authority lost three LGV drivers in the last three weeks to local companies offering between £38,000 and £45,000 a year for 40-hour Monday to Friday working weeks.

Not in Newark and Sherwood. Roger Jackson and district council waste operatives. (49609369)
Not in Newark and Sherwood. Roger Jackson and district council waste operatives. (49609369)

To combat what the authority has called a very concerning situation, it will grant its LGV drivers — including those in the waste sector — the £5,000 bonus subject to conditions.

"Members will be aware of the current national/international shortage of lorry drivers that is effecting many areas of our daily lives," said council documents.

"From supply chain to service provision, the situation at the present time is very concerning.

Newark and Sherwood District Council logo.
Newark and Sherwood District Council logo.

"What we now see happening within the haulage industry is many companies offering extremely large wages and or sign-up/loyalty bonuses in order to attract or retain staff.

"The waste sector, and in particular local authorities, are not exempt from these pressures and it can only be a matter of time before we at Newark and Sherwood District Council are struggling to maintain front-line services (in particular refuse collection and street cleaning), which given the environmental and financial successes of recent Cleaner, Safer, Greener efforts, would be very costly both financially and by way of reputation."

The council further stated the loss of three LGV drivers had already had a detrimental effect on front-line services and that management felt it imperative a solution be found to retain and/or recruit staff.

The bonus is a one-off retention payment of £5,000 offered to all operatives holding an LGV licence, to be paid through the salary payments of those who remain with the council for the next 12 months.

Managers have also asked the authority's training budget of £3,600 be doubled to train more drivers.

District council Labour Group leader Paul Peacock said: “We’ll be supporting the action as we have to maintain the services that we provide. We need people to drive our lorries.

“I am weary, however, of setting a precedent of not paying those working in waste management without HGV licences enough while at the same time paying drivers more.

“Those who don’t drive also need the opportunity to get a HGV licence and I’m therefore pleased with the training budget outlined. Although, we can’t afford to pay all our workers that extra £5,000.

“It’s a very difficult situation and we’ve been forced into taking these measures because of the national situation, a combination of Brexit and under-investment in the sector.”

Any LGV driver who leaves during the 12-month retention period wil not receive any payment. Daily payments will be withheld for excessive sickness. Should an operative leave and forego the payment, an incentive payment to new starters will be offered during the recruitment procedure.

Updated requirements around LGV training payback are being negotiated with trade unions but these are unlikely to have any additional financial impact on the authority.

The measures are to be put in place as soon as possible.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has been approached for comment.

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