THE UNITE union has warned that it will leave ‘no stone unturned’ if Doncaster refuse contractor Suez presses ahead with strike breaking during forthcoming strike action.
Unite has received evidence that Suez is actively recruiting agency workers to try to break the strike. The recruitment of agency workers to break or undermine strike action is strictly illegal and is a criminal offence.
The advert circulated by Aim Recruit Ltd, which already supplies agency workers to Suez, states: ‘This work is to cover industrial action and the workers will need to cross a picket line.’ Other agencies identified to be recruiting for refuse workers on the contract include Logical Personal Solutions and Ideal Recruit.
Unite is writing to the government’s Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, which is responsible for ensuring that the rules on agency workers are upheld, warning that Suez and the agencies concerned are prepared to act illegally.
Unite will also write directly to the company and the agencies warning them that they will be engaging in illegal activity. The union will also consider what other legal action it can take in support of its members.
Unite regional officer, Shane Sweeting, said: ‘Suez’s actions are disgraceful and the company will be acting illegally if it recruits agency labour to undermine a strike. It is simply incredible that Suez is more interested in recruiting agency workers to try to undermine the dispute rather than entering into negotiations with Unite.’
The first strike is scheduled to begin on Wednesday 23rd August until Sunday 27th August. A further period of strike action will then occur from Saturday 2nd September finishing on Wednesday 6th September.
The initial dispute concerns pay. Suez has offered workers a 2% increase but this is conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime, which will in reality mean that workers will have their pay frozen. The Suez dispute has further deepened as the company has also announced that it is looking to effectively halve the 250-strong workforce by October and is intent on making over 100 workers redundant. Unite is currently preparing to launch a separate industrial action ballot over the job cuts.
As a result of the job cuts the company is proposing to reduce refuse collections from a five-day-a-week service to four days. The current medical waste removal service will be cancelled; the green waste collection will change from a year round service to operating only for nine months and the company will no longer undertake the licensed removal of asbestos.