Cheshire businesses face Christmas rubbish headache as Veolia workers strike over unpaid shifts
- Monday 10 December 2018
Members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, employed by waste management provider, Veolia UK, in Cheshire, are set to begin a series of strikes beginning on Friday 21 December, in a dispute over unpaid shifts.
The workers, who are employed at the company’s Ditton Road Widnes depot, are employed on a contract which requires them to undertake five shifts in seven days. However, the workers are not paid if they work a sixth shift in a seven day period.
The result of the industrial action ballot, delivered a turnout of 92 per cent with 78.3 per cent in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.
Following the ballot result Unite undertook a last ditch attempt to avert strike action but the talks failed to reach a resolution as Veolia’s management refused to provide a solution to the issue.
The first 24 hour strike will be held just before Christmas on Friday 21 December with further strikes also called for Christmas Eve (24 December) and then on Thursday 4 and Sunday 7 of January 2019. A series of overtime bans will be in place either side of strike days.
The commercial companies, located throughout Cheshire, who will be affected by the strike action include household names McDonalds, Boots, Wetherspoons and Asda. The non-collection of rubbish at the outlets is likely to swiftly cause environmental health concerns.
Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard said: “We are extremely disappointed with Veolia’s management given that they attended a meeting with Unite on Thursday 5 December 2018 but totally failed to address the concerns of our members.
“As a result, Unite’s workers have absolutely no option but to go ahead with strike action which will begin shortly before Christmas.
“It simply defies belief that Veolia thinks it is acceptable for workers to be unpaid for undertaking an extra shift.
“If an agreement cannot be reached then strike action will have a serious impact on rubbish collections from a number of well-known high street brands including McDonalds, Boots, Wetherspoons and Asda, which could have serious environmental considerations.
“Unite is committed to exploring all options to resolve the current situation and will remain open to talks up to and beyond the strike action, however the company must come up with a reasonable offer to resolve the dispute.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.