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Bromley binmen to strike on Monday after Veolia agreement crumbles

PUBLISHED: 11:20 16 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:27 16 January 2013

Binmen are set for a 48-hour strike from Monday after four sacked workers were prevented from returning to their jobs by a "red card" from Bromley Council, claim trade union Unite.

The men were dismissed from the depot, in Baths Road, after collecting unauthorised waste and earlier strike action was prevented last month as employers Veolia and Unite agreed on the return of all four workers.

However, the union claim Bromley Council blocked the re-employment last week despite the workers meeting their demands.

Unite regional officer, Onay Kasab, said: “The strike action due to take place next week was needless because we had reached agreement with Veolia and the Council.

“It is cruel and spiteful. I had to call all four and tell them that we had been double crossed.

“The oldest serving worker in particular was distraught, having prepared all his work gear in advance and was excited about returning to where he had worked for over 40 years.”

Executive councillor for environment, Cllr Colin Smith, says the council “played no part” in Veolia’s management of their staff.

Cllr Smith also stated that the amount of unauthorised waste removed by the workers amounted to 880lbs, as well as two car seats - for which the crew accepted cash in hand.

He said: “What the council has said, consistently throughout to Veolia in line with contractual rights, is that if they do decide to take the men back, they will have to be deployed elsewhere from the Bromley contract.

“I would offer a view that redeployment for a sackable offence is a pretty good deal.”

Veolia claim the agreement made with Unite was for the re-employment of the workers at any of their contract locations, with all four men offered work away from Bromley.

A spokesman said: “We have gone above and beyond in our efforts to prevent an industrial dispute in Bromley and can reassure residents we are working to avoid or minimise any disruption to collection services next week.

“Therefore whilst we have met all our commitments, it is very disappointing that Unite is not honouring its ‘no strike agreement’ and has issued us with a fresh notice of industrial action.”

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