Bin worker Bin worker. Photo: Chris / Geograph / CC BY-SA 2.0, license linked at bottom of article

Bin workers in Doncaster are beginning balloting for industrial action after management bullying and harassment

Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd claims to be a world leader in waste recycling and disposal. It has contracts in most countries in the EU and aims to become a world leader in waste management.

Its website explains how Suez is leading the way in dealing with the ever-increasing mountain of domestic waste that we produce. The people of Doncaster should be delighted to have Suez collecting their rubbish.

But Doncaster’s bin workers have lifted the lid of Suez UK and what is underneath is not a pretty sight.

Unite members have reported,

“Widespread bullying and harassment, including the suspension of representative Damien Nota, who has suffered continual harassment and was suspended after managers furtively trawled through historical CCTV footage to attempt to build a case against him. Managers have taken a similar approach to other workers who have been dismissed.”

Contrary to their green-washed environmentally friendly propaganda, Suez is all about making a profit. But the profit margins for a contract with Doncaster Council was always going to be limited, which helps to explain their anti-union agenda.

Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said:

“Members are fed up by the bullying and harassment they are experiencing on a regular basis by the Suez management.

“In particular, members are appalled at the treatment of Unite representative Damien Nota, who has suffered constant harassment and has now been suspended on trumped-up charges.

“Unite has tried to resolve these matters through negotiation but without success and, as a result, members believe they have no option but to ballot for industrial action.”

After 95 per cent of the workforce voted for industrial action in a consultative ballot, Unite is beginning a full-scale industrial action ballot.

For Doncaster residents, a Christmas bin strike will be an additional burden, but we need to stand with our refuse collectors and stop the austerity-led race to the bottom that Doncaster is facing.

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John Westmoreland

John is a history teacher and UCU rep. He is an active member of the People's Assembly and writes regularly for Counterfire.

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