Council leaders back Harlow refuse workers

Harlow Council leader Mark Ingall and Danny Purton, the councillor responsible for waste and recycling, expressed their support for outsourced refuse collectors today, who complain about bullying and harassment from local Veolia managers.

The Labour councillors backed UNISON’s calls for action to stop the bullying at the Mead Park depot in a meeting with regional organiser Caroline Hennessy today.

In a joint statement, Councillor Ingall and Ms Hennessy said: “Bullying in the workplace is a serious issue and people that become aware of it have a duty to act to stop it. Veolia is a private company and it is therefore its responsibility to resolve issues with its workforce.

“We have heard that some refuse collection crews were fearful about confronting the management of Veolia with their grievances and so they understandably sought outside help.

“It is disappointing that the individual confided in did not immediately pass the serious nature of the information onto either Unison or the Council so that robust action could be taken.

“Harlow’s Labour Councillors fully support workers acting collectively through their union to resolve grievances, to ensure health and safety standards are being met and to end bullying.

“While Veolia is a private company, it is contracted to Harlow District Council and as such is in receipt of council taxpayers’ money.

“Ultimately it is the residents of Harlow who are Veolia’s customers and they are right to expect the council to intervene and insist that Veolia acts swiftly and effectively to deal with all the issues raised.

“UNISON and Harlow Labour councillors believe that in a situation where serious allegations of bullying have been made against two managers, the only appropriate action is for those managers to be suspended until a proper process has been followed and a full and fair investigation has been carried out.”