Refugees ease binmen shortages crisisOn 19 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Refugees living in Birmingham and Coventry are being employed by BedfordBorough Council to overcome recruitment difficulties. The council pays an agency to employ about 160 refugees, from other parts ofthe Midlands, to work as bin men, groundsmen, and car park and toiletattendants. The agency provides transport to take the workers, who mainly live in theCoventry and Birmingham areas, to and from work. Roland Simmonds, head of personnel for Bedford Borough Council, said thepolicy was introduced because of the difficulties recruiting people locallyinto these types of roles due to low unemployment in the area. Simmonds said: “We have problems recruiting staff in low-paid manualroles. The area is traditionally quite affluent and has a diverse range ofemployers including large and small businesses. It is a former engineering areathat is now IT and small production based. It is also only 50 minutes away fromLondon on the train.” A lot of the refugees do not have good English skills so the the councilemploys a translator on all shifts. Agency staff are also put through a rigorous health and safety trainingprogramme with an interpreter present to make sure the course is fullyunderstood. Simmonds said: “Agency staff go through a very complete health andsafety training programme and have translators to make sure that everything isunderstood. “The initiative started in 1991 with a couple of staff and has carriedon growing since then. We see no reason why it shall not continue in thefuture.” Related posts:No related photos.