South London refuse workers set to strike on ‘paltry’ pay offer

25 June 2013

Unite press release: Unite Logo 120712Refuse collection workers in Bromley and Croydon will be striking for three days next week over a paltry pay offer.

The workers, members of Unite – the country’s largest union – will be striking on Tuesday 2 July, Wednesday 3 July and Thursday 4 July.

The collection service in both boroughs is provided by the highly profitable French company, Veolia which has offered two per cent. This has been rejected by the workers who are seeking a rise in line with the current retail price index (RPI) of 3.1 per cent.

Unite, which represents 126 refuse collectors in Bromley and more than 100 in Croydon, said that the pathetic offer was, in stark contrast, to the 20 per cent increase in profits reported by Veolia.

The accounts of Veolia Environmental Services UK plc reported that the group operating profit for year ending December 2011 was £121 million.

The dispute over pay could spread to Unite members in Camden, also employed by Veolia, who have also rejected the two per cent offer in a consultative ballot. The Camden workers could also be balloted for industrial action, if the dispute is not settled.

The union will be contacting employment agencies to make clear that the law does not allow for agency staff to cover the role of striking workers.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “What Veolia is offering is in reality a pay cut – workers’ wages are not matching the cost of living. Household bills, food and travel are all getting more expensive.

“Veolia’s managers are always telling us that the company is broke, but the company’s accounts reveal it is a very profitable business. Yet our members on £18,000-£20,000-a-year, who help generate these profits, are offered a paltry pay offer.

“We urge the management to come to the negotiating table before next week’s strikes and make our members a fair and decent offer that reflects the hard work that contributes to the company’s profitability.

“Otherwise, there could be more strikes in Croydon and Bromley and the real possibility of strikes in Camden.”

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