30 April 2021


For the Binmen (Waste disposal operatives)

by Brother Paul de Groot, O.Carm

The virus and the first lockdown gave us a realisation of how dependant we are on each other and especially on “key” workers. 
We have clapped for some like those in the NHS and carers.
We have seen and appreciated those in the supermarkets, 
or those who deliver our post or online parcels.

but I’m in awe of those unsung heroes the binmen. 

They have to visit every household with no idea where that virus may be lurking. 
They have to work together in a cab where they cannot keep socially distant. 
They have worked through the heat of the summer (with festering bins), 
the torrential autumn rains 
and now through ice and cold.

Because we have stayed at home, their workload has increased. 
but the time to do the job has not.
And as their colleagues have had to isolate or succumbed who can “volunteer” to plug the gap?

However hard they strive how angry do we get if our bins are not emptied on time?

And where is the social Justice for our key workers? 
As the first lockdown ended there was no sign of a fundamental change in our attitude
to how we value and appreciate key workers, 
not even by paying them what we think they are really worth.

It seems we want to see no change. 
The wealthy who do not need to work for a salary have got wealthier. 
Those who do need a wage are having to struggle more and more 
despite all the help the government gives. 
How many key workers have to resort to food banks 
(a scandal for us all that they have to exist)?


Let us pray

Loving and gracious God,
Pour blessings on those who collect our waste.
Encourage and strength them in their work.
Keep them safe from all harm
Stir up within us a hunger to ensure they and all key workers are fairly paid and treated
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Paul de Groot is a Carmelite friar in the British Province. He is part of the Carmelite community in Aylesford. Paul will be leading one of our novena days to Saint Jude, add to your calendar today.