Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by waste company Veolia and working at the Stanlow refinery in Cheshire are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.


Real terms pay cut


Multinational giant Veolia is proposing a 3.5 per cent pay deal to the workforce. With the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at nine per cent, Unite says that this is a substantial pay cut.


The workers are responsible for maintaining and operating chemical and vacuum tanks at the refinery.


Ballot papers began to be sent out this week and voting will close on Tuesday 3 May. A vote in favour of industrial action would see strikes begin in May.


Wealthy company


Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Veolia is an exceptionally wealthy company yet, at a time of spiralling living costs, Stanlow workers are expected to swallow a real terms pay cut. This is simply unacceptable.


“Veolia found billions to buy another company and can easily pay these workers fairly.  


“Unite will be giving our members at Veolia the union’s total support until the company makes an acceptable offer to our members and this dispute is resolved.”


Contract renegotiation 


The dispute comes as Veolia renegotiates its contract with Essar, the company that operates the Stanlow site.


Veolia, which is based in France, is an extremely wealthy multinational company. It has recently announced a merger with fellow waste management company Suez at a cost of 13 billion euros which is subject to a competition inquiry in the UK.


Members left with no option


Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard said: “Despite repeated attempts to resolve this dispute through negotiations Veolia has refused to make an offer which meets our members’ expectations. Therefore they have no option but to ballot for industrial action.




Notes to editors:


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Email: [email protected]



Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.