Veolia Refuse Collectors Set To Strike In Bromley

BROMLEY_929X367PXBromley residents face the prospect of uncollected waste and recycling as around 100 collection staff employed by waste disposal giant Veolia gear up for three days of strike action in a pay dispute. 

About 100 workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted 85 percent in favour of striking on 24 August and 3 and 4 September, after years of below inflation pay awards. The strikes will run from midnight to midnight.

Veolia was awarded the contract by Bromley council – and Unite said that this dispute was another example of the flawed nature of the controversial authority’s mass privatisation programme that relies on cutting services and slashing wages.

“This dispute is another example of the council’s misguided privatisation programme which relies on Veolia cutting collection rounds for householders and real term pay cuts for our refuse collection members”

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Employers have offered 1.5 percent for the pay year starting last April – and we put in for a four per cent pay rise. Workers are angry, as they have to cover heavier and heavier workloads following a number of rounds being cut.

“For years they have had below inflation pay rises – but now that inflation has dropped, the employers are happy to use it as a bench mark – so it’s a catch-and-match up claim.

“Our members have made it very clear that they are prepared to strike – we held three consultative votes, all of which voted to be balloted for strike action.

“Veolia should have got the message – but it clearly hasn’t. That is why we have now issued notice for strike action. This is a very unhappy and demoralised workforce, being asked to take on more work but not being recognised for it.

“Veolia has a final chance for talks – we urge them to take that opportunity. The alternative is for the strike to go-ahead with the prospect of uncollected  dustbins causing a stink in the late summer sunshine.

“The collection service will be a day behind initially and the further two days of action will hamper efforts to catch up and cause the service to householders to lag further behind.

“This dispute is another example of the council’s misguided privatisation programme which relies on Veolia cutting collection rounds for householders and real term pay cuts for our refuse collection members”

The dispute comes against the backdrop of a Fair Deal For Local Government campaign by Unite’s London and Eastern region, which has almost 300,000 members. The campaign is aimed against privatisation and austerity in local government.

The campaign is a set of proposals that Unite is putting to councils in the region. It is a procurement strategy to ensure that quality services are maintained and that there is no “race to the bottom” for pay and conditions post any transfer.

A spokesperson for Veolia in Bromley said: “We have been notified of possible strike action in Bromley and are seeking to work closely with Unite to resolve this situation.”


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