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28th September 2017

SUEZ responds to threat of more Doncaster strike action

The following statement is issued in response to the announcement made by Unite the Union on 27 September 2017 confirming a ballot for strike action among members employed on SUEZ’s household recycling and waste collection contract with Doncaster Council.

“At the end of June 2017, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK was awarded a new contract to provide recycling and refuse collection services to Doncaster Council, following a lengthy procurement process.

“Prior to awarding the contract, Doncaster Council consulted widely to determine what residents wanted from their waste and recycling services. During this consultation, residents overwhelmingly supported a new, simpler, system which will mean that there will be some changes to the way the service operates. This includes widespread support for a new co-mingled system of recycling, which will see a new blue bin introduced for all recycling materials, except for glass, which will remain in the green box.

“SUEZ is pleased to have been awarded the contract and continue to serve Doncaster residents, however due to the significant changes to the way recycling and waste is collected from residents’ properties under the new contract, there will unfortunately be a need for fewer staff than the previous source-segregated collections.

“Therefore, as of mid-July this year, members of staff employed on the current contract received notice of the start of a ninety-day consultation period, which could result in redundancies next year. This process is due to conclude at the end of October, but the primary 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.

“Talks between SUEZ and Unite, with ACAS present, have been ongoing for the past month and we remain committed to finding the best solution for all involved. We are therefore extremely disappointed that Unite is balloting members for strike action while these talks are ongoing and cannot understand why they would take this course of action prior to the end of the consultation, as no decisions have been made. It is also concerning that, despite being three months away, Unite proposes to effectively delay any future strike action until the Christmas period, when it will cause the most disruption to residents – as they acknowledge in their own press release.

“This is becoming a perennial occurrence and Unite should not continue to hold the residents of Doncaster to ransom like this.”

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