Veolia (2)

Seven days of strike action among Veolia refuse workers have been announced in a dispute over holiday pay.

Bin collections and street cleaning services in the London borough of Tower Hamlets will stop after the employees of Veolia, which holds the refuse, recycling and street cleaning contract for the borough, voted in favour of strike action

The Unite union said that despite reaching an agreement on the calculation of holiday pay in August 2018, Veolia still owes around 150 workers significant sums in arrears.

It said that instead of settling the claim collectively, the company had deterred staff from claiming the arrears by requiring individuals to launch drawn out legal proceedings.

Unite members voted 96.5% in favour of strike action in a ballot with a 70% turnout that was held earlier this month. Seven days of strike action will now begin on Monday 9 March.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Veolia has caused these strikes by attempting to weasel out of paying the substantial holiday arrears it owes staff. The company now has to answer to Tower Hamlets residents who will be understandably angry at having to put up with overflowing bins and piles of rubbish.”

A Veolia spokeswoman said: "Following local discussions, we are disappointed to have been notified by Unite that they intend to proceed with industrial action in Tower Hamlets. We have a long standing agreement in place with Unite which includes a dispute resolution procedure. We are in ongoing dialogue with Unite to see if this matter can be resolved and we ask that Unite works with Veolia as part of the dispute resolution procedure which involves working with ACAS, prior to any industrial action taking place."