Bromley households could face a Christmas of rubbish collection chaos if binmen vote to strike over the unjust sacking of four colleagues for ‘going the extra mile’, warns Unite, the country’s biggest union.
An industrial ballot of the union’s 120 members, working for Veolia Environment Services in Bromley south London, will open on Monday 12 November and close on 27 November. The ballot was triggered by the sacking of four refuse workers for alleged ‘gross misconduct’ last month.
The four were sacked in a row over removing ‘excess’ garden rubbish at the request of a resident for a cash in hand payment - an allegation that has since proved to be false after an internal appeals process uncovered that no money changed hands.
Despite the finding, Veolia has refused to re-instate the four workers who have more than 100 years of experience between them. The company claims the resident should have been charged a special collection fee to remove the extra waste.
Unite disputes that a special collection was needed and says that the company’s own photographic evidence confirms this.
Onay Kasab, Unite regional officer, said: “Veolia can be in no doubt that we are very serious about defending our members. Last month the company saw the strength of feeling of its workforce after the sackings sparked a mass walk-out, it must act now to avert a full blown strike.
“Despite being cleared by an internal appeals process of accepting a payment for removing the rubbish, Veolia has refused to reinstate the four men. We now have it on record that the four were sacked for simply taking away garden rubbish at the request of a resident.
“Veolia should be ashamed of the way it has treated these men who have effectively been sacked for going the extra mile to help Bromley residents. Their actions risk causing needless disruption and inconvenience to the people of Bromley.
“Sacking four long serving workers for doing their job stinks. It’s time for Veolia bosses to get around the table and reinstate the four men or face a Christmas of rubbish collection chaos.”
For further information contact Onay Kasab, Unite regional officer, on 07771818637 or Chantal Chegrinec, Unite communications officer, on 07774 146 777
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.