Aberdeen council bosses claim they will not be “resting on their laurels” despite managing to combat a shortage of bin lorry drivers.
Aberdeen City Council was forced to rely on agency workers to keep its waste and recycling service running – with a total of 14 vacancies recorded last October.
However, waste bosses have managed to vastly reduce the number of vacancies over the last year.
Paul McPherson, service manager, told the local authority’s staff governance committee yesterday the council has been looking at a “different message” to try and recruit female drivers, is training refuse loaders to become drivers and is planning to promote the job to school leavers.
He said: “We have got a lot of female drivers in the service now.
“We’re going to go out to schools to encourage school leavers to go into the sector.
“At the moment we’re sitting with a few vacancies, which has never been heard of.
“We’re not resting on our laurels.”
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Mr McPherson added that following press coverage at the end of last year, the council received an “influx of applications”.
The report to councillors said: “Following the press coverage at the end of 2018, an unprecedented level of interest was received for driver vacancies.
“The high-profile story in the press last year made a significant difference to the interest in the light goods vehicle vacancies in the service.”
The local authority has also put an emphasis on promoting the additional benefits of working for the council, with adverts including information about pension benefits, daytime working and short haul driving.
The service plans to continue offering retraining where required, as well as targeting those leaving the armed forces.
Four existing refuse loaders expressed an interest in training to become drivers, with two having taken advantage of this.
To keep the numbers high, the council will continuously advertise to recruit candidates ahead of new vacancies coming up, the report added.
Councillors asked for an update to be provided to them on the vacancy levels in the next six months.
Meanwhile, the committee also agreed to introduce a gender-based violence policy after a request from the Unison union.
Introducing staff leave for domestic victims would be part of that, with employees experiencing this type of crime eligible for up to three days paid special leave per year.
The purpose of the paid leave would be to allow for time off to make practical arrangements linked to their experiences, such as an appointment with a support organisation.
Councillor Martin Greig said he “very much” welcomed the policy.
He said: “It needs to be readily available to managers and employees so we can provide support to victims.”
The committee was told “all the managers” had been briefed on the policy, with plans for it to be placed on virtual channels.
Members were also told the council was open to working on posters or leaflets to communicate the policy to staff.