Harlow refuse workers threaten industrial action over management bullying

Refuse workers in Essex are threatening strike action after complaining about bullying, threats and safety breaches from private contractor Veolia, UNISON says today.

Workers from the Mead Park depot in Harlow unanimously voted for a ballot at a meeting last night after a spate of incidents relating to health and safety and changes imposed without consultation by new managers.

UNISON has submitted a collective grievance to the company and raised concerns over health and safety, including inadequate facilities for breaks, being expected to eat lunch in their lorries, inadequate washing facilities and removal of rest rooms.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Caroline Hennessy said: “Workers have been subjected to a reign of terror at Mead Park, with many too fearful to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

“But they’ve broken their silence because they’ve had enough. We’ve been truly shocked by their treatment at the hands of local Veolia managers.

“No-one wants to go through industrial action but if Veolia won’t act then we’re left with no choice. No-one should be treated so appallingly at work.”