Binmen closer to strike

RUBBISH could soon be piling up across North Somerset if a dispute between binmen and their employers is not resolved soon. Waste management company Veolia is in its fifth month of pay negotiations with regional union bosses at GMB after its workers rejec

RUBBISH could soon be piling up across North Somerset if a dispute between binmen and their employers is not resolved soon.Waste management company Veolia is in its fifth month of pay negotiations with regional union bosses at GMB after its workers rejected a three per cent pay rise in April.The French company is employed by North Somerset Council to collect household and green waste from residents' homes.GMB regional organiser Ken Baker said: "We have written to Veolia asking the company to reconsider pay after workers at its North Somerset depot overwhelmingly rejected its original offer which was below the retail price index of 4.8 per cent at the time."Mr Baker confirmed the trade union represents the 'majority' of Veolia employees in the district .When asked if workers may refuse to go on rounds if the situation is left unresolved, he said: "We may be forced to ballot for industrial action in which we will consider all options available to us. I expect to know more in two weeks' time."However, an anonymous email sent to the North Somerset Times, by someone claiming to be a Veolia employee, said: "Following prolonged discussions, a ballot was taken as to whether the employees are prepared to take industrial action in their efforts to secure a decent pay rise. "The resulting 'yes' vote will now be passed back to union headquarters along with a request to take union-backed industrial action."No-one at Veolia wants to use industrial action as a lever in their pay deal, but staff now feel so low they are left with little or no alternative. "Could this mean rubbish bags and waste piled up on the streets of Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea in the next few weeks? Only time will tell."A Veolia Environmental Services' spokesperson said: "We are still going through a recognised negotiation process and do not wish to comment further at this stage.


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