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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 July 2009

Street cleaners lobby council

Street cleaners employed by Kier in the London Borough of Waltham Forest lobbied the council on 23 July. This was to make councillors aware of the conditions under which they are expected to work. They presented a petition to the mayor which raised concern about a 'hitlist' of workers, including trade union activists and many with long periods of service with Waltham Forest, who Kier wanted to dismiss.

So concerned were Kier that they sent a manager to the lobby to take pictures of those present. It is believed that they may want to discipline those present. There are also rumours circulating that unless workers deselect Tommy Anderson, a Unite steward, they will not be selected for overtime!

Kier recently dismissed all the agency workers on the contract. This has made work very difficult for those workers who remain. Whereas a beat was previously 20 or so streets a day, now it is 60-70! As a result, dirty streets are beginning to reappear in the borough, as they did when Kier first took over the contract in June 2008, which is reflected in regular stories in the local paper.

Any threats to stewards will be met resolutely by union members. This example illustrates again the type of company which takes over public-sector contracts. Contracting out of public services must end. They must be taken back into council control.

Kevin Parslow, Unite LE/1228 branch secretary

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