Three workers in the Dust truck is not safe

The threat of COVID 19 both real and perceived is growing stronger every day especially amongst front line workers who are being asked to carry on a deliver services as normal.

But these are not normal times. We are in a global pandemic which is sweeping across the globe, some countries faster than others.

The response from workers in public services is incredible people are offering support to other services which are under serious pressure.

Once such service that needs to continue otherwise there will be another type of public health risk is the Waste and Recycling Service.

There can sometimes be 3 or 4 workers sitting inside a vehicle a clear contravention of the government advice on social distancing.

Earlier this week Barnet UNISON wrote to Barnet Council requesting urgent measures to be put in place to safeguard our member’s health and safety.

Our demands are as follows:

1. Cleaning regime.

The inside of the vehicles are subjected to thorough cleansing regime each day.

That Hand gel is provided for each team every day. Please note there are no toilets available for these staff to use therefore no access to water and soap.

Cleansing wipes to be provided to each team every day.

Gloves and masks to be provided to each team every day.

Provision of toilet facilities for the workforce

Procedure to change how they currently work to reflect government advice about social distancing.

2. Bonus/recognition payment

Workers have asked that the Council pay a bonus to the reflect the recognition of the work they are currently providing under difficult circumstances.

3. Mental Health

To increase awareness of counselling support for staff working on the frontline during this national crisis.

4. Food and supplies

It is well documented that access to supermarkets is proving problematic and for the key workers it will more difficult for them to access supermarkets as they are working. Barnet UNISON has asked Barnet Council look to secure means by which food and supplies can be provided on an order basis for key workers.


***** Barnet Council have responded see below:


Hand sanitiser gel has been issued to the crews and drivers have a supply of hand wipes for them and the crew to use.  Drivers can request more from the Supervisors once their supply has gone.  Drivers are also being issued with cleansing wipes so that they are able to wipe down surfaces, handles and steering wheels in the cab.  We have also progressed arrangements to implement a cleansing regime for vehicle cabs.  Nitril gloves are currently also available on request for those who may wish to use them.

We have sourced resource that will be undertaking a deep cleanse of the RCV cabs on Saturday this week.  Following this, we will have a team of four people working from Monday to clean the vehicle cabs.  RCV’s will be cleaned on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and Street Cleansing vehicles will be cleaned on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.


No bonus payment will be paid to key workers.

Mental Health

Mental Health First Aiders to be made available for staff to contact and discuss their issues.

Food and Supplies