Unite, the UK’s largest union, has confirmed that it will ballot Doncaster's refuse workers for strike action, which will affect bin collections later this year and over the Christmas period, in a dispute over job cuts.
Suez the private contractor which operates the refuse collection contract on behalf of Doncaster council is set to slash the number of workers on the contract making 106 redundancies out of a total workforce of 258 workers.
The job cuts will come into effect before the company’s new refuse contract agreed by Doncaster council, comes into effect in March 2018.
Strikes on the refuse contract were called off in August after Suez made an improved pay offer to the workforce and agreed to talks at the conciliation service Acas, over the proposed redundancies.
Unite entered the Acas talks with a red line that the union would not agree to any compulsory redundancies of the permanent refuse staff. Suez has refused to meet this condition. The proposed job losses currently include 50 permanent workers being made compulsorily redundant.
The cuts in the number of workers on the contract are so great that Unite cannot see how a normal refuse service, which keeps Doncaster clean and tidy, can be delivered.
Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting, said: “Unite entered negotiations with the clear intention of resolving this dispute, but Suez has been unable or unwilling to promise there will be no compulsory redundancies.
“Therefore Unite has no option, we have to defend our members' jobs and that is why we are balloting our members for strike action.
“While strike action will inevitably cause largescale disruption to the refuse collection service in Doncaster, I hope that the public understands that we are taking this action as a last resort and Unite is defending the long-term integrity of the service.
“If Suez and Doncaster council want to avoid this dispute from taking place then they must remove the threat of compulsory redundancies.”
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: email@example.com
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.