Refuse collection workers in Bromley and Croydon have confirmed they will undertake strike action for three days next week over what they call “a paltry pay offer”. The strike will take place from 2-4 July.
The collection service in both Bromley and Croydon is provided by Veolia, which has offered a two percent pay deal. This has been rejected by the workers, members of the Unite union, who are seeking a rise in line with the current retail price index of 3.1 percent. Unite, which represents 126 refuse collectors in Bromley and more than 100 in Croydon, said that the “pathetic offer” was in stark contrast to the 20 percent increase in profits reported by Veolia.
In addition, it is reported that the pay dispute could spread to Unite members in Camden, also employed by Veolia, who have also rejected the two percent offer in a consultative ballot. The Camden workers could also be balloted for industrial action, if the dispute is not settled.
However, only 36 of the 170 union staff employed in Croydon had voted in the strike ballot with just 22 being in favour and 14 against.
Unite regional officer, Onay Kasab, said: “What Veolia is offering is in reality a pay cut – workers’ wages are not matching the cost of living. Household bills, food and travel are all getting more expensive. Veolia’s managers are always telling us that the company is broke, but the company’s accounts reveal it is a very profitable business. Yet our members on £18,000-£20,000-a-year, who help generate these profits, are offered a paltry pay offer.
“We urge the management to come to the negotiating table before next week’s strikes and make our members a fair and decent offer that reflects the hard work that contributes to the company’s profitability. Otherwise, there could be more strikes in Croydon and Bromley and the real possibility of strikes in Camden.”
A comment from Veolia is expected later today.