Verbal abuse, death threats, spitting, and being sworn and shouted out – nobody should be subjected to this appalling behaviour for just doing their job, let alone someone providing a vital public service.
Waste workers have a tough, smelly and physically demanding job, at times made even more difficult due to abuse and threats.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 20 of the 26 verbal abuse incidents reported to North East Lincolnshire Council were directly aimed at waste and street cleansing teams.
Here are some examples of incidents that have occurred:
- A van driver threatened to stab a bin worker in the neck and tried to punch him through an open window of the cab.
- “I’m gonna smash you up. Just wait, I’ll be back.”
- A person made a gesture of running his finger across his neck towards a member of staff.
- “You don’t know who you are ******* messing with.”
- A woman slammed her hands down and shouted and screamed in their face, almost nose to nose.
- More recently, a woman chased a crew and hurled abuse at them in April 2021. She then spat in the face of one of the workers and shouted ‘COVID’ at him.
Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “These incidents are totally unacceptable. Abuse of our staff, in any form, will not be tolerated and any threats towards them will be reported to the police.
“The crews are here to help and have the right to work in a safe environment.
“It’s appalling that people who are working hard to keep vital services going are being threatened and abused.”
He added: “I’d like to extend my thanks to all the waste teams who continue to be on the frontline carrying out their duties.
“With the ongoing pandemic, they are doing the best they can under the current circumstances, which can see crews self-isolating and staff from other areas of the council having to step up. Everyone really has been pulling together to complete the rounds. The crews and staff from other departments have worked over and above.
“It’s sad that a small number of people chose to behave in this way. Thankfully, most people appreciate our award-winning crews and the work they do and we’ve already been overwhelmed by the number of entries submitted to our Crew of the Year competition so far.
“You can give the bin crews the recognition they deserve and vote for your Crew of the Year today.”
Show our key workers some love and nominate them today by visiting www.nelincs.gov.uk/CrewoftheYear.
Let us know all about how your crew has gone above and beyond, or simply just brightened up your day with a smile or wave.
Please note, you can only make one nomination per household.
There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for the top three nominated crews, as well as a special recognition award for a crew or worker that has gone above and beyond the line of duty (that’s why it’s important to explain why you have voted for them).