Overtime Costs Down, New Trucks, x1 Week

February 17, 2019 | 26 Comments

Overtime costs have been cut by more than half from $1.2m to $320,000, five new trucks arrived on island last month at a cost of approximately $140,000 each, and once a week garbage collection will become permanent.

This was stated by Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch in the House of Assembly on Friday [Feb 15] where he reiterated many of the points he made during a press briefing earlier this month.

The Minister’s press briefing on the matter held on February 1st

Speaking in the House, the Minister said, “To briefly recap – 18 months ago we experienced issues with the unreliability of collection, the number of vehicles in service, exorbitant overtime, injuries to staff, the abuse of workers and general dissatisfaction with service delivery levels.

“As an example a section that should have 54 staff and 19 serviceable vehicles – had, on average 40 staff and 9 working vehicles.

“A lot has happened in a year – locals and residents alike have in the main adapted magnificently to the once a week collection and the refrain I have heard most often is that people are pleased with the reliability of collection.

“Opening hours of the public drop off were extended to make it more convenient to use the facility and we have seen a significant increase in the amount of garbage disposed there.

“Overtime costs have been cut by more than half from $1.2M to $320,000, the number of injuries are down significantly, the number of vehicle accidents are also down and the work / life balance of staff has improved since they no longer regularly work into the evening hours.

“You may recall that we decided a year ago to purchase 5 new garbage trucks and included in the team to select them was a driver and sanitation worker. I am pleased to report that the new trucks arrived on island last month at a cost of approximately $140,000 each.

One of the new trucks:

trash trucks Bermuda Feb 14 2019 (3)

“All 5 trucks have been licensed by TCD, four suffered minor damage during offloading, and one had a minor electrical problem which was addressed by the supplier’s representatives who were on Island this week to commission the vehicles.

“As the new vehicles have some enhanced and additional operational features –Marsh Folly staff participated in training this week to familiarize themselves with the new vehicles and one was used for the Tuesday collection.

“Realistically we anticipate them all being placed into service next week.

“Following meetings with the senior management team to review collection data, staff survey results, operational efficiencies and savings – I can now advise that I have decided that once a week collection will become a permanent feature of the Bermuda landscape.

“The aim always is to rid the country of garbage in a healthy and safe manner, manage the expectations of the public by not falsely promising what we cannot deliver.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

I have reported regularly on the challenges we are facing with garbage collection and the steps we continually take to address them. So let me begin by thanking the vast majority of our residents who have adapted to the new collection regime.

To briefly recap – 18 months ago we experienced issues with the unreliability of collection, the number of vehicles in service, exorbitant overtime, injuries to staff, the abuse of workers and general dissatisfaction with service delivery levels.

Mr. Speaker, as an example a section that should have 54 staff and 19 serviceable vehicles – had, on average 40 staff and 9 working vehicles.

There was also a significant gap in the communication chain both internally as well as publicly. We have implemented new protocols to mitigate against this happening again and worked through those issues with our staff along with our Union partners. I believe we now have open lines of communication flowing both ways that has contributed to a better working environment and improved morale.

Mr. Speaker, a lot has happened in a year – locals and residents alike have in the main adapted magnificently to the once a week collection and the refrain I have heard most often is that people are pleased with the reliability of collection.

Opening hours of the public drop off were extended to make it more convenient to use the facility and we have seen a significant increase in the amount of garbage disposed there. Overtime costs have been cut by more than half from $1.2M to $320,000, the number of injuries are down significantly, the number of vehicle accidents are also down and the work / life balance of staff has improved since they no longer regularly work into the evening hours.

Mr. Speaker, you may recall that we decided a year ago to purchase 5 new garbage trucks and included in the team to select them was a driver and sanitation worker. I am pleased to report that the new trucks arrived on island last month at a cost of approximately $140,000 each.

All 5 trucks have been licensed by TCD, four suffered minor damage during offloading, and one had a minor electrical problem which was addressed by the supplier’s representatives who were on Island this week to commission the vehicles.

Mr. Speaker, as the new vehicles have some enhanced and additional operational features –Marsh Folly staff participated in training this week to familiarize themselves with the new vehicles and one was used for the Tuesday collection. It was reported that the operators were enthusiastic and asked relevant questions during the training session. Both the operators and drivers will receive training certificates to show they have successfully completed the training to operate the vehicles safely.

It is very encouraging to note that the drivers are not driving the vehicles in areas where there is restricted access but reporting such cases to their Superintendents so that those areas can be serviced using the smaller vehicles.

Realistically we anticipate them all being placed into service next week.

Mr. Speaker, concurrently, we will be installing a new Wash Station at Marsh Folly to ensure the new trucks can be maintained in pristine condition.

Following meetings with the senior management team to review collection data, staff survey results, operational efficiencies and savings – I can now advise that I have decided that once a week collection will become a permanent feature of the Bermuda landscape.

Mr. Speaker, the aim always is to rid the country of garbage in a healthy and safe manner, manage the expectations of the public by not falsely promising what we cannot deliver.

Let me now set out what additional measures we will take, to assist the Bermudian public in managing this new reality. A consistent complaint during this period has been from those areas that utilize the very large gray bins in communal disposal areas as we have experienced a regular shortage of the bin lift trucks. As a result we have utilized private sector contractors and Corporation of Hamilton trucks to assist us on weekends to address this deficiency. The 5 new trucks all have that capability and it is our expectation we will now be able to collect that waste on the day it is scheduled without the need for outside contractors.

All of us can help in that regard, however, by reducing the incredible amount of waste we generate, by recycling and composting food waste. I know that our Education Officer would wish that I recommend to all of us that consideration be given to composting – which is a painless way of helping the environment as well as successfully disposing of food waste without running the risk of attracting feral chickens, cats or vermin to your trash. Of course it is made considerably easier if you purchase a composting bin from any of the local hardware stores or the best type can be purchased from the Ministry of Public Works Headquarters.

Mr. Speaker, in this vein as well the Ministry has purchased 300 – 95 gallon wheelie bins – they arrived on island this week – to be followed shortly thereafter by a similar number of 48 gallon recycling bins. These will be sold at landed cost and initially be targeted at those neighbourhoods that use communal collection points to help address the challenges with vermin and feral chickens attacking trash bags.

There are a number of additional actions that we – the general public can take to make things better:

  • Cut back trees along private estate roads – as this causes damage to vehicles – smashed windscreens and mirrors.
  • Do not place garbage out before collection day.
  • Do not place too much garbage in a bag that one man cannot carry it.
  • Do not place dangerous or prohibited items in garbage.
  • Do not place garbage in paper bags or cardboard boxes.
  • Do not put out recyclables on non-collection days.

Mr. Speaker, there has been general acceptance of the once a week schedule with a small minority of people ignoring the rules. We are determined to address this bad behavior by encouraging our workers to take pictures of any infractions, report it to their manager – so that we can take the appropriate action. Our workers will not collect trash that is strewn all over the road because of someone’s bad behavior. They will not drive up a road that does not have a clear path to gain access and either injure themselves or damage the vehicle. We will enforce the rules and address directly those who insist on flouting the law and not taking pride in their own neighbourhoods.

We as a people – ALL of us – must do better – I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the general public, to be more aware of what they put in their trash and always remember that the collection is carried out by hard working staff who take pride in their work and deserve our thanks and respect.

Mr. Speaker, let me end where I began – by thanking the general public for adapting to this new collection schedule and also thank those workers in waste management who do an outstanding job in collecting our waste under some of the most trying circumstances. I encourage members of the public to express their thanks directly to those workers who so efficiently collect our garbage every week.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Let’s Go Bermuda says:

    4 suffered damaged off loading???

    • Trump supporter says:

      Wonder if the forgot to release report as they said they’re going to. Maybe to busy.

  2. Pissant says:

    Surely they came on Oleander as RO RO cargo, drive on ,chain down ,drive off the ramp. hope damage was minor

  3. Real Deal says:

    Good job Burch. that’s the right way to make cuts and reduce cost.

  4. Real Deal says:

    Word of advice. Use the time when the trucks are being washed to identify any rust and body work the rust asap. This will help the trucks last longer.

    We live on an island so their will be rust but if we identify the rust early over maintenance cost will be lower.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      If you’re washing anything , no matter what it is , and you’re using piped water , not rain/tank water then you’re asking for the things to rust out 10x’s faster ! And I bet that’s what they’re using.
      (Just to clarify that there’s ‘washing’ and then there’s ‘safe washing’.

      • Real Deal says:

        regardless of what water is used it will rust. my point is that gov normally waits until the units are completely over run with rust too where it affects hydraulics and other key components before they do anything about. then its a big deal at that point where major work or even a new unit that is required.

        you need to maintain the body and not just the motor this applies for more than just vehicle too, building, play grounds ect ect

  5. Real Deal says:

    taking pictures of any infractions is a good idea but you may need more. i would suggest. Depending on the frequency of the infractions, give the people little number stickers to identify the house hold bags. This will help be some time people drive to other neighborhoods to drop off their bags that contain the infractions.

  6. Real Deal says:

    as far as composing, not everyone has a garden or space for a garden to use it. also you don’t really want to compost meats and bone for garden use only need the greens eggs shell at the most.

    I have an idea for the meats waste someone can start a fly farm that can then supply the fish farm that is supposed to be set up on Smith island

    • sage says:

      Or become vegan.

      • Real Deal says:

        vegan life is an expensive life. not everyone got that money. and yes i did it for a year in Bermuda so i know it is expensive and i have a garden and it was still expensive

  7. Reality Check says:

    Minister Burch deserves credit for his practical and cost effective solution to the garbage collection problem . Well done .

    • Question says:

      Does he get credit for telling pensioners to take their trash to the dump on a bus?

  8. Wow great news minister
    Now how about finding decent drivers who know how to drive and handle these trucks..but than again these computer trucks have a habit of shuting down to regenerise..so lets hope you have the techicians to fix them..

  9. Hmmm says:

    “Overtime costs have been cut by more than half from $1.2m to $320,000.. ”

    So now our TAXES can be reduced????

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course not, they’re going to use all the money they freed up to hire more of their mates.

    • Edmund Spenser says:

      You missed the part where he said they were using independent contractors. The next obvious question, because Min. Burch conveniently leaves it out, how much did the independent contractors cost? With the follow on, who were they, were the contracts tendered or is this just another in a long and growing list of friends and family sweetheart deals?

  10. DeOnion says:

    Burch for premier!

    • Real Deal says:

      lol i would not go that far.but he did a good job though.

      • Question says:

        Oh yeah great job. Halved the service. Still employs the same number of people, doing half the work with “less overtime”. Oh yeah that’s so impressive, halving the service with the same resources. And look at you people with your tongues hanging out. Frikin idiots.

        • Real Deal says:

          i think it is you that need to step back and logically think.

          He understands how not to be a slave driver. if he had workers that he did not care about or take into consideration he would have took the approach the old “masters” used

          cut the work force by half and then crack down on the remaining “tools” once the “tools” burn out he would replace them in a revolving door fashion.

          In stead
          he recognized that trash output in the island has increased as it would any where else. know they the increased is unmanageable with the current resources. he shift some of that resource to increases the hours at the dump station. by doing this he gave Bermudians an avenue where they can help the situation become manageable. and it is Bermudian Spirit and culture to want to help Bermuda if there is a way to help with out being to over burden. he knows this because he is Bermudian that miggels with the people and knows the culture.

          this is getting to long so im not going to finish spoon feeding the solution that was put in place. step bak logical figure the rest out yourself its not that hard to see it.

  11. joe..... says:

    hire drivers that can drive take care of the truck….do not hire wheel holders…..who don’t care…..

  12. Ants says:

    So what are we gonna do with the old trash trucks? Good job MP. Burch.

  13. Hang up and try your call again says:

    So, cost savings by reducing the number of trash runs in half that the PLP implemented years ago. Oh, and reduce overtime hours of staff for the same reason.

  14. Crabs says:

    Good job minister please make sure your management do the right thing keep an eye on them now for mercy sake fix the criminal overtime in parks by superintendents and appoint professionals there

  15. Y-Gurl says:

    New trucks doing half the work, another great deal for Bermuda…thanks PLP at this rate we all will be following the W&E work ethic and have a siesta in the afternoon before going home around 3pm got my vote!

Leave a Reply