Doncaster bin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

Bins, photo Ivor Ibrahamsen (Creative Commons)

Bins, photo Ivor Ibrahamsen (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Alistair Tice

Doncaster bin workers (members of Unite the Union) employed by multinational private contractor Suez, were set to begin the first of two lots of five days of strike action on Wednesday 23 August.

The Unite members voted 89% for strike action after Suez only offered a 2% pay rise but conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime which means most workers won’t get any pay rise.

But a day before the strike was set to begin, it was called off following a new offer of a £1 an hour pay rise.

Suez, who have just had their waste recycling and recovery contract extended by eight years by Doncaster’s Labour council, have announced that they will halve the workforce by October, making over 100 redundancies. Unite is holding another industrial action ballot against these job losses.

Because of the job cuts, Suez are proposing a big cut in refuse services; household collections will be reduced from five to four days a week, medical waste and licensed asbestos removal is being ended and green waste removal reduced. The union has warned of the “Threat of dirty Donny as Suez crisis deepens.”

Unite members took strike action last year against management bullying and victimisation. Suez know that this strike will be solid so now they are trying to recruit scabs. Aim Recruit Ltd, who already supply Suez with agency workers, have been caught advertising for Loaders immediately available: “This work is to cover industrial action and the workers will need to cross a picket line.”

It’s bad enough that Doncaster Labour council privatised waste management services, even worse that it’s extended the contract of a job and service cutting multinational that is hiring strike-breaking scabs! This should be the final straw. Socialists and trade unionists in Doncaster are demanding that the council sack Suez and bring the contract back ‘in house’.

This article was updated on 22.8.17

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 21 August 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.