Doncaster braced for Christmas bin strikes as four dates are announced

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Christmas bin strikes have been called in Doncaster as a row over bullying and harrassment deepened.

Residents are set to be severely affected by a series strikes by refuse collectors over Christmas and New Year over what union chiefs say is the result of ‘constant bullying and harassment’ of the workforce by outsourcers Suez Recycling and Recovery Ltd, who operate the town’s refuse and recycling contract.

Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have voted by 94 per cent in favour of strike action.

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As a consequence Unite has announced strike dates on Wednesday 15 December, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Monday 4 January. If the dispute is not resolved before the final date then further strikes heading further into 2021 will be called.

Doncaster is braced for Christmas bin strikes.Doncaster is braced for Christmas bin strikes.
Doncaster is braced for Christmas bin strikes.

A Unite spokesman said: “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.

Unite says management used these tactics in order to suspend the union’s lead representative Damien Nota, on ‘trumped up’ charges.

Following the overwhelming vote in favour of strike action, Unite now hopes that the Doncaster mayor Ros Jones will be able to intervene so that industrial action is avoided and piles of rubbish do not begin to build up on the streets of the town.

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However, any hope of peace breaking out was scuppered when Unite were informed yesterday 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.

“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.

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“The workers are taking strike action as a last resort as Suez are simply unwilling to end its regime of bullying and harassment.

“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.”