Rubbish answers from #Manchester City Council about waste collection, panic-buying 4xl hazmat suits


On 23rd October I wrote to

Dear Sir/Madam,

I read this story in the Grauniad with alarm.  It concerns bin lorry drivers selfishly deciding to put food on their families’ tables by taking higher paid jobs delivering food and the like. Taking back control of their finances and all that.
Now, I know the Council is inordinately proud of its electric lorries, with names like Leesey-McLeeseface and so on, but to the best of my knowledge self-driving lorries are still a glint in Elon Musk’s eye. They not yet, as the young people used to say “a thing”, yet.

So, naturlich, some questions arise.

[My questions are in bold, the answers from the council in plain text]

1. Does the Council employ any bin lorry drivers directly? If so, how many, and what steps – if any – is the Council taking to encourage them to stick around.
No, the Council does not employ any bin drivers directly.

2. If, as I suspect, the Council does NOT employ any bin lorry drivers, and they all got TUPEd over to Biffa when the service was privatised (turns out it isn’t just Tories who privatise, eh?), then

a) how many drivers does Biffa employ to do bin collections in Manchester City Council’s area (rough count is fine)
This information is not held by the Council.

b) is the council aware of any action taken by Biffa to keep these drivers from taking better paid jobs, as per the Grauniad
Biffa are working to retain their existing drivers and are actively looking for new drivers to fill any vacancies.

c) Has the relevant Executive Member had any discussions – either proactively or initiated by Biffa – about this? If so, when, who started it, and what has been the outcome, thus far, of discussions.
The relevant Executive Member sits on the strategic board with Biffa where operational issues like this are discussed as and when they arise.

3. What contingency plans does Manchester City Council have in place for a crisis with bin collections in December/January?  Should I be panic-buying 4XL hazmat suits and rodent traps?
Biffa are contractually obliged to provide certain services in the area covered by Manchester City Council. They have contingency plans in place including the use of agency drivers, the use of drivers from other parts of the business and if it came to this, the prioritisation of putrescible waste collection. Manchester City Council is in regular contact with Biffa to assess the current situation, forecast potential disruption and put arrangements in place. Please keep an eye on our website for the latest information. See


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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