careers

Bin collections disrupted as service faces ‘severe pressure’

Recycling collections across large swathes of Somerset face disruption today – due to ‘severe pressures’ on the service.

Thousands of homes across Sedgemoor have been told that their recycling will not be collected today (Tuesday, June 8) and will instead be picked up on Saturday (June 12)

Only a few properties on “narrow access” – usually collected by a small lorry rather than a full-size recycle truck – will be collected Tuesday.

The areas affected are Aisholt, Berrow, Brean, Broomfield, Burnham On Sea, Burrowbridge, Cannington, Courtway, Edithmead, Enmore, Fiddington, Highbridge, Merridge, Over Stowey, Spaxton and Wembdon.

Rubbish and garden waste collections[1] scheduled for Tuesday will take place as planned.

Somerset Waste Partnership says the move to reschedule collections is down to a period of ‘severe’ pressure which has issues with staffing, increased holiday traffic and the volume of collections increasing.

A spokesman for Somerset Waste Partnership said: “Most recycling collections due on Tuesday 8 June in Sedgemoor are being rescheduled to Saturday (12 June) instead.

“If your recycling is not collected by the end of Tuesday, please re-present it on Saturday from 7am.

“Residents do not need to report a missed recycling collection.

“Their scheduled collection, including any special details like assisted collections, will be transferred to Saturday.

“Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) apologises for any inconvenience caused by this disruption.

“The move is to allow services to recover after a period of severe staff pressure which has affected collections in the last week or so.

“These are down to a nationwide shortage of HGV drivers, a local shortage of agency staff, combined with recent heavy holiday traffic and continued heavy loads.”

“Somerset recycling jobs are available now.*

Extra crews are being brought in and others are being reallocated from other depots to make sure a backlog of collections is cleared.

The spokesman added: “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work hard with our contractor to minimise any further disruption.

“If you have waste that must go ASAP, if you have time and transport or assistance, and if you prefer, recycle sites are on their usual schedules.”

Recycle sites take all kerbside materials for recycling – except food waste (double bag, put in energy-from-waste skip) – and they take all black sack rubbish (bag, put in energy-from-waste skip, it may be opened to check for recyclables).

The partnership said there are a number of jobs currently available for drivers/loaders and loaders in Bridgwater, Evercreech, Taunton, Williton, Yeovil.

For full details and to apply visit the Suez website.
[2]

The closing date is 25 June 2021.

References

  1. ^ garden waste collections (www.somersetlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ the Suez website (careers.suez.co.uk)

Des Walker exclusive: How it really felt to play for Brian Clough – and why I loved driving lorries

It was the soundtrack to one of English football’s most gilded careers, from Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, to 59 games for England: “You’ll never beat Des Walker.”

Never mind beating him, there was also a good chance you would never meet Walker. For a man who tasted some of the greatest highs in the game – Wembley final wins at Forest, a World Cup semi-final and a stint in Serie A – Walker was notoriously publicity-shy, knocking away interview requests like a cautious opening batsman.

And yet here he is, still lean and fit aged 55, standing on the touchline at Manchester City’s academy stadium, chatting away about everything from Brian Clough[1] to the art of defending and his days as perhaps the world’s most unlikely lorry driver.

This is a rare opportunity to enter Walker’s world and it seems there is only one place to start: how did one of England’s most masterful centre-backs, whose athletic excellence at his peak would have been a welcome addition to Gareth Southgate’s squad at the European Championship this summer, end up chugging up and down Britain’s motorways?

“I did the running for Nestle, and drove for nearly five years,” he says. “I’d left Forest [in January 2005, after Joe Kinnear was sacked] and I was driving all over the place. When I was a youngster in London I used to live two doors up from the Coca-Cola factory. I used to watch the lorry driver reversing into this tight spot countless times and remember being amazed at how he did it.

“When I was in my mid-twenties at Forest, I was bored one summer and I took my Class One HGV [exam]. I also took the motorbike and bus ones, just to fill my licences up and have all the ticks.”

Walker is warming to his theme, his boyish enthusiasm belying his grey hairs. “I always drove ‘artics’ [articulated lorries], you know,” he says.

Lorry-driving might have become an unlikely second career for Walker, but there is no doubt how he will be remembered by the majority of football fans of a certain vintage – a Rolls-Royce of a defender, ruthlessly efficient, utterly reliable, and who seemed to have an inbuilt radar for sniffing out danger.

He found defending so effortless he could have been puffing on a cigar, although he was actually more likely to be found pulling on a cigarette when not on the field – his heavy smoking a nod to an age when such habits were not considered a problem, even for elite athletes.

He carved out his reputation at Forest, under Clough, but actually made more appearances for Wednesday. In 1990, he was crucial for England as they reached the World Cup semi-finals before that gut-wrenching defeat by Germany on penalties.

Walker in action for Nottingham Forest against Notts County in 1984


Walker in action for Nottingham Forest against Notts County in 1984


Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“My whole career was a highlight,” he says. “I’d like to think anyone who watched me play long enough would think, ‘He consistently did his job’. It’s easy to play 10 games a season and do well. If you do well for 60, or 70 games, then that’s something else.

“It’s what I was paid to do and I was the professional doing my job. I can hold my head up high and say I gave my best every time I went out on the field. Forest fans, especially, and Wednesday fans, hold me in esteem because they think I gave everything for their club. Even in my late thirties I gave everything. If people look back on that, I’m happy.”

It is unquestionably at Forest where Walker will be remembered. He lifted two League Cups, in 1989 and 1990, and played in the 1991 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, when he suffered the misfortune of heading the crucial goal into his own net.

There is also the famous moment of Walker’s only senior goal, against Luton Town in 1992, when he made a rare foray up front to crash a shot past Steve Sutton – on loan from Forest at the time – in the final seconds.

Off the field, he was never flash, despite being once described by Roy Keane as “a world-class playboy and the man for the night-time adventures”. Indeed, former team-mates remember him driving into the club in a sponsored Skoda.

The respect between Walker and Clough, his manager, flowed both ways. After matches, Clough would untie Walker’s boots and take them off, turning to the dressing room to say: “If you lot play like Desmond, I’ll take your boots off as well.”

Walker played under other managers, including Sir Bobby Robson and Sven-Goran Eriksson, but nobody came close to Clough. “Best manager I ever had, by a long way,” Walker says. “Simple and effective. He didn’t ask you to do something you weren’t good at, you had to do what you were good at. You had to have courage to play for him. You had to be able to make a mistake and get on with it.

“I went there as a 16-year-old and he made me grow up in one year. He taught me to be a man, he didn’t teach me to be a good player.”

Brian Clough and assistant Peter Taylor on the sidelines at Anfield in 1978


Brian Clough and assistant Peter Taylor on the sidelines at Anfield in 1978


Credit: PA

A few hundred yards away from where Walker is speaking, Pep Guardiola has just lifted the Premier League title. Whereas Champions League success continues to elude Guardiola with City, Clough led Forest to successive European Cups.

“Great managers can manage players, whatever the age or era,” Walker says. “Cloughie would adjust to anything[2]. He’d still have his character if he was managing now, but you wouldn’t have the lifespan of management if he couldn’t adapt. Football has always changed, it’s not been the last 10 years you know? He could manage anywhere in the world.”

Walker is now doing some coaching of his own, working alongside Dennis Wise[3] in charge of Garuda Select, a UK-based academy for young Indonesian footballers.

He has had the role for three years, after leaving a similar position with Derby County’s academy, and during our chat in Manchester he is keeping one eye on his charges, playing a few yards away.

“I never thought about coaching as a player,” he says. “I played with players who were taking their badges. Brian Laws at Forest was one and I always remember Cloughie saying to him, ‘Son, what are you going to teach them, how to tackle badly?’

“After I’d retired, everyone was saying I should coach or manage. I always thought that the right thing would come along for me. Whether you’re coaching a top team or not, coaching is coaching. My knowledge of the game will come out wherever I am.”

Walker and Wise are charged with the task of discovering young Indonesian footballers and the work is already paying off. Two players have signed for European clubs and eight are playing in the Indonesian top flight. “I’d been working with youngsters at Derby anyway and if you see the improvement in a player, that is the reward,” Walker says.

“Technically they are very good, but in terms of the game understanding they are behind Europe. That’s my job as a coach. Some take it on quicker than others, but they are a pleasure to train. I can only live for tomorrow. I don’t look back on anything, I can’t live yesterday. Football for me as a player is over.”

And with that, Walker is off.

References

  1. ^ chatting away about everything from Brian Clough (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ Cloughie would adjust to anything (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ alongside Dennis Wise (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ Des Walker coaching (cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk)

Thaw in UK labour market leaves employers scrambling to recruit staff

After a year on ice, Britain’s labour market is rapidly unfreezing.

Hospitality employers are scrambling for staff; bin crews are being poached[1] by delivery companies; and white-collar workers are in demand as companies switch from survival mode and relaunch projects to drive future growth.

Employers already struggling to recruit may soon find it harder to hang on to existing staff: people who last year hesitated to leave the safety of a stable job are now scouring the website of the charity Citizen’s Advice in record numbers[2] for guidance on resigning.

“Demand is really high. There are really substantial reports of shortages in hot sectors of the economy,” said Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.

Hiring is surging above pre-pandemic levels in some sectors. Volume of online job adverts (index rebased, Feb 2020 = 100) acrossTransport, logistics and warehousingConstruction and tradesCatering and hospitalityAll industries

These emerging labour shortages — compounded by Brexit[3] — raise the possibility that, after a long period of wage restraint and precarity, workers will finally wield more bargaining power.

“It’s been a buyers’ market for a long time in the labour market and employers haven’t had to work too hard to attract and retain people in lots of low paid areas,” said Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies. “For the first time in a decade, it is more of a sellers’ market.”

In some areas, hourly pay is starting to rise. Pawel Adrjan, economist at the jobs site Indeed, said the median advertised rate for pub and restaurant jobs had risen from £9.25 to £9.35 since the first quarter, while in social care it has climbed from £9.51 to £9.71.

There have been steeper increases for the highest paid driving roles, likely to reflect a chronic shortage of qualified lorry drivers, which has been exacerbated[4] by Brexit, a backlog of driving tests, and changes in tax for contractors that added to the outflow of EU drivers.

Private sector pay growth is nearing pre-pandemic levels. Chart showing predicted annual basic pay awards (%) across thePrivate sectorVoluntary sectorPublic sector

“We’re not at the point where the dust has settled yet,” said Kieran Smith, chief executive of the recruitment agency Driver Require. In the past, customers had forced down margins in the haulage industry to “almost unsustainable levels”, but now, “if they wish to have a delivery and a driver, the agency can dictate the rate”.

Mick Rix, a national officer at the GMB union, said higher pay for drivers would soon lead to similar demands from warehouse staff, as pay deals are negotiated over the next few months.

But Indeed has seen few signs of pay rising in other sectors, even those that have been hiring rapidly, with median wages flat in warehousing, retail, cleaning and less skilled driving roles.

“It isn’t entirely surprising. Most employers may be viewing the current hiring bottlenecks as temporary, given how many people are still unemployed or on furlough,” Adrjan said.

The pool of unemployed and furloughed workers is shrinking. Chart showing % of workforce on furlough leave and the unemployment rate (%). After more than 30% of the workforce being on furlough in June 2020 this number has fallen to just over 10% by end-April 2021

In hospitality, employers are finding that people are unwilling to leave the shelter of furlough — which ends in September — or of more stable sectors, for a job in which they would not qualify for wage subsidies if a new lockdown struck.

“If they move now, they lose that safety net,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade body UKHospitality.

Some companies are therefore offering guarantees of job security, rather than higher pay: Carberry said one major pub chain had promised new staff they would be furloughed in any fresh lockdown.

Joe Cobb: ‘We can’t raise wages’ © Lorne Campbell/Guzelian

Many businesses in low margin sectors where long shutdowns have left them cash-constrained said they could not afford to pay more.

“We can’t raise wages,” said Joe Cobb, commercial manager at Lake District Country Hotels, who discovered a week before reopening his three properties that 10 per cent of his staff did not plan to return — mostly EU nationals who had gone back to their home countries.

Operating in an area with few young people, the company has tried other ways to make jobs more attractive: building accommodation for staff who cannot afford local rents; changing its shift patterns; and offering staff discounts. It has also advertised apprenticeships paid at the adult rate for the past four years — without attracting a single application.

Many more employers are now under pressure to improve job security, flexibility and career structures — which may matter as much or more to potential recruits as an increase in pay.

One clear shift in the balance of power is the new ability of white-collar workers to demand flexibility in when and where they work.

Habiba Khatoon: ‘One of the first questions is, does the company allow agile working?’

“One of the first questions is, does the company allow agile working?” said Habiba Khatoon, director for the Midlands region at the recruiter Robert Walters, adding: “Clients are open to it because they see it is the only way to stay competitive.”

Less clear is whether employers are ready to make meaningful changes in sectors where poor working conditions are endemic.

In haulage, “the sector is its own worst enemy”, said Drive Require’s Smith, who thought pay will have to rise sharply to lure back qualified drivers who had moved into less gruelling jobs with steady hours.

Yet in hospitality, employers are starting to offer more flexible terms and different ways of working, Nicholls said, with part time hours, flexitime, and shifts that suit working parents.

This is partly because they need to tempt back workers who have joined other sectors in the last year. Kim Teagle, recruitment manager at Bluebird Care, a UK-wide domiciliary provider, has hired people from hairdressing and hospitality who plan to stay with the company, observing: “They didn’t realise how secure a job in care is.”

But she admitted her company was able to offer staff better terms than most rivals because it did not rely on public funding. For others in the sector, which suffers chronic recruitment problems, “unless money’s put into it, it’s not going to change”.

Yet Carberry argued the labour crunch would not be a passing phenomenon. Over the next decade, demographic pressures and slower migration mean Britain’s labour market would be tight, he said, forcing employers to think about pay, working conditions and careers.

“We’re expecting quite a fundamental shift towards there being more of a candidates’ market,” he said. “I foresee shortages for some time to come.”

References

  1. ^ poached (www.heraldseries.co.uk)
  2. ^ in record numbers (twitter.com)
  3. ^ Brexit (www.ft.com)
  4. ^ exacerbated (www.ft.com)