Republic services have had some delays in Marseille and Ottawa lately and a representative spoke to the Marseille city council on Wednesday to explain why.
Jim Pozzi said a lack of drivers was the cause of the delays, especially after Republic bought River City and took on its contracts earlier this year.
“I have the trucks but I don’t have the drivers to fill the seats and manage the routes,” Pozzi said. “We had to push some routes, which delayed them, but we’re not delaying them by not taking them. We’re just delaying them a few days.
Pozzi said the hope is that Republic will have enough drivers to get pickups back to normal, but the expected influx of River City employees hasn’t happened. Of the drivers employed at the time of purchase, only two were retained because Republic requires its drivers to have CDLs.
“We are working to get back to a full squad,” Pozzi said. “We actually called the union and said, ‘Hey, is it okay if we pay our drivers more than what’s on the contract?’ ”
Pozzi said the pay rise was an incentive to make work more attractive to people.
He added that the number of working hours for drivers was also limited, which made the labor shortage more difficult to manage: drivers could not work more than 60 hours per week and they could not work more than 14 hours a day. If a driver works 14 hours a day, he must be off work for the next 36 hours.
Pozzi hopes these issues will be resolved within the next six to eight weeks, but there are no guarantees.
In the meantime, Commissioner Bobby Kaminski said the city is considering entering into an exclusive contract with a garbage collector before COVID-19, as it would guarantee garbage collection with a contract. Residents of Marseille and Outaouais can choose their garbage collector themselves.
Pozzi said a community with a contract usually doesn’t have as many problems because the drivers there are permanent and usually stay in that community for a while. An open market community has different drivers.