UPDATED: Doncaster bins strike fears as job cuts proposed which 'could lead to fly-tipping'

Binmen collecting refuse in Doncaster
Binmen collecting refuse in Doncaster

Bosses fear a possible bin strike in Doncaster over pay and proposed job losses, which unions claim will lead to litter and fly tipping.

The union Unite is in the process of balloting for industrial action over changes put forward by Suez Recycling and Recovery UK after it was awarded a new contract by Doncaster Council.
It follows consultation with residents on possible bin collection changes, which are still under discussion.
A Suez spokesman said: “Although we are pleased to have been awarded the contract, and continue to serve Doncaster residents, the proposed changes to the collection system unfortunately has the potential to impact the way the contract is staffed and how resources are deployed when the new contract begins next year.
“Therefore, as of mid-July, members of staff employed on the current Doncaster contract have received notice of the start of a 90-day consultation period, which could result in redundancies next year.
“However, the purpose of the consultation is to determine how the needs and commercial realities of the new contract can be balanced against the best interests of existing staff.
“These discussions have, of course, involved union members and officials from the earliest opportunity.
“Separately, and prior to the award of the new contract, union members employed on the contract have requested a significant pay increase for the second time in the past year, after Suez last agreed a pay award in 2016.
“We continue to negotiate on this point, but understand the union is in the process of balloting for strike action prior to the outcome of these negotiations.”

The union Unite is warning that residents face the prospect of dirty streets, an increase in litter and fly tipping if the job cuts

It says the company which employs 250 workers wants to make 112 staff redundant by October as well as removing 20 long-term agency workers.

Unite is now preparing to ballot for industrial action in opposition to the planned cut in staffing.

The unions also claims Unite has refused to offer any form of enhanced redundancy or potential redeployment for affected workers.

Unite says the company is proposing to reduce refuse collections from a five day a week programme to a four day a week operation. It would no longer offer a service to remove medical waste, which will become an individual’s responsibility to dispose of safely.

Unite also claims the firm is planning to reduce green waste collections from a 12 month a year service to a nine month a year service and the company will no longer undertake the licensed removal of asbestos.

Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting, said: “If these redundancies take place then residents need to brace themselves for dirty streets. The company is barely able to meet its targets with a five day a week service, there is no way it can keep the streets clean on a four day operation with half the staff.

“Suez failed to consult with Unite prior to announcing these redundancies and has shown no inclination to minimise their huge effect on a workforce which has been dedicated in keeping Doncaster clean and tidy. As a consequence Unite is preparing to ballot for industrial action.

“If Doncaster council is serious about improving the local environment and seeking city status it needs to step in and resolve this issue. The council cannot sit on its hands and allow the borough to go to rack and ruin.”

Unite is currently balloting the workforce for strike action over pay. The company had made a pay offer of two per cent, but the union says in reality most workers would see no increase in take home pay as the increase was conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime for a series of tasks including vehicle inspections. The pay ballot closes on Monday July 31.