'We won't be treated this way any longer'
Doncaster Christmas bin strikes announced as Suez bullying and harassment dispute deepens
Residents of Doncaster are set to be severely affected by a series of bin strikes over Christmas and New Year, as a result of the constant bullying and harassment of the workforce by outsourcers Suez Recycling and Recovery Ltd, who operate the town’s refuse and recycling contract.
The members of Unite have voted by 94 per cent in favour of strike action.
As a consequence Unite has announced strike dates on Wednesday 15 December, Thursday 24 December, Thursday 31 December and Monday 4 January. If the dispute is not resolved before the final date then further strikes heading further into 2021 will be called.
The workforce are experiencing constant bullying and harassment from managers, whose favoured tactics include furtively trawling historic CCTV footage to build disciplinary cases against members in order to develop a case for dismissal.
The management used these tactics in order to suspend Unite’s lead representative Damien Nota, on trumped up charges.
Following the overwhelming vote in favour of strike action, Unite has hoped that the Doncaster mayor Roz Jones would be able to intervene so that industrial action was avoided and piles of rubbish did not begin to build up on the streets of the town.
However, any hope of peace breaking out was scuppered when Unite were informed yesterday (November 25) that Mr Nota had been sacked by Suez.
Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting said, “The level of support for this strike action demonstrates the anger of the workforce about the way they are being treated by Suez’s management.
“The decision to sack Mr Nota, just as the council was preparing to try to resolve the dispute, demonstrates that Suez are not currently prepared to enter into negotiations to resolve this dispute,” Sweeting noted.
“Our members have worked throughout two lockdowns to ensure that Doncaster’s rubbish is collected but they are simply not prepared to be treated in this manner any longer.
“The workers are taking strike action as a last resort as Suez are simply unwilling to end its regime of bullying and harassment,” he added.
“It is now incumbent on Doncaster council to drag its contractor into line or consider terminating the contract.
“Unite believes that with the intervention of the council, the reinstatement of Mr Nota and cast iron commitments that the bullying culture will immediately end, this dispute could still be resolved. However the clock is ticking and the ball is firmly in Suez’s court.”
By Barckley Sumner