Unite, the UK’s largest union, has warned that Doncaster residents are facing sustained periods without rubbish collections, as a dispute with private contractor Suez over pay and job losses deepens.
The dispute involves the recycling and recovery contract that Suez manages on behalf of Doncaster council. Workers have recorded a 89 per cent vote in favour of strike action after Suez made a 2 pay cent pay offer, conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime, which would result in most workers not receiving an increase in pay.
Unite has announced an initial strike beginning on Wednesday 23 August until Sunday 27 August. A further action will then begin on Saturday 2 September finishing on Wednesday 6 September.
The Suez dispute has further deepened as the company has also announced that it is looking to effectively halve the 250 strong workforce by October and is intent on making over hundred workers redundant. Unite is currently preparing to launch a separate industrial action ballot over the job cuts.
Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said: “Unite is bitterly disappointed that Suez’s management, has made no attempt to seek to resolve the dispute.
“Unite recognises that if the strikes go ahead it will have a major effect on local residents but this action is being taken as a last resort.
“We urge Suez to sit down at the negotiating table, make a reasonable pay offer and withdraw its redundancy proposals which will make the contract undeliverable.”
As a result of the job cuts the company is proposing to reduce refuse collections from a five day a week service to four days. The current medical waste removal service will be cancelled; the green waste collection will change from a year round service to operating only for nine months and the company will no longer undertake the licensed removal of asbestos.
Unite is in the process of arranging meetings with Ros Jones the Mayor of Doncaster and the local MPs and hope that they will be able to put pressure on Suez to actively seek a solution to the dispute.
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
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.