Thomas Bridge 14 August 2015

Strike plans spark fears of 'stinking bins' in borough

A borough has been warned it could face 'stinking bins' as 100 refuse collectors plan two days of strikes over a pay dispute.

Workers employed by Veolia for Bromley Council could walk out on 24 August and 3 and 4 of September over what trade union Unite described as 'years of below inflation pay awards'.

Around 100 trade union members voted 85% in favour of the strike dates.

Employees were said to be 'angry' and 'very unhappy' over recent pay rises.

Bromley Council has seen its services bought to a halt multiple times this year over industrial action as trade unions take action over 'mass privatisation' at the town hall.

This latest threat of action would see rubbish collection falling a day behind in August, with efforts to catch up on services hampered by the second walkout at the beginning of September.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: '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.

'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.'

Cllr Colin Smith, executive councillor for environment, said: 'Unite’s latest attempt to manufacture a pointless politically motivated strike helps neither the collection crews nor Bromley residents in the slightest. I remain hopeful that the majority of Veolia employees will consider all the issues carefully, refuse to allow themselves to be used in this manner and that common-sense will prevail.'

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

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