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Bromley binmen vote yes for strike action over Christmas
BOSSES are being urged to ‘get back around the table’ or risk rubbish piling up on the streets of Bromley this Christmas, after binmen voted for strike action.
The refuse workers returned a yes vote with 81.8 per cent voting in favour, on a 55 per cent turnout, over the sacking of four colleagues for gross misconduct.
They were fired after they took away garden waste for a woman – which is forbidden as they are only allowed to collect household waste.
In today’s News Shopper Bromley Council’s portfolio holder for the environment Councillor Colin Smith says this rubbish included 14 large bags and some chairs and weighed around 400kg.
The union says the men did not receive any money from the householder to take the rubbish away.
But a Bromley Council spokesman says it was never proved either way whether or not money changed hands.
Unite union regional officer Onay Kasab says Veolia refuses to reinstate the workers.
He said: “We have warned all along that our members would vote to defend their workmates, unjustly sacked for going the extra mile.
“This is a vote for fairness and a stand for solidarity.
“Veolia bosses can no longer stick their heads in the sand – they got it wrong – it’s time to get back around the table and give the men their jobs back.
“Bromley Council needs to stop meddling in this dispute and let Unite and Veolia settle the matter.
“If it doesn’t, it will only have its self to blame when the bins are not emptied this Christmas.”
Unite will now consult with its members before announcing strike dates, which are expected to be in the Christmas period.
A Veolia Environmental Services spokesperson said: “We can confirm that following an internal disciplinary procedure, four employees have been dismissed for collecting an excessive amount of unauthorised waste.
"We also confirm that Bromley Council had no input into this outcome.”
And portfolio holder for the environment Councillor Colin Smith said: “It is disappointing that Unite seem hell bent on a Christmas strike despite only a quarter of Veolia’s staff supporting this.
"Unite need to stop making misleading assertions - the dismissals were clearly Veolia’s decision and the facts are clear.
"The crew picked up a substantial amount of waste, which they should not have done.
"They knew this and so does the union.
"I would appeal to the better judgement of those hard working honest refuse crews as industrial action can still be avoided.”