Councils assessing levels of disruption for 250,000 Notts homes as recycling workers prepare to strike
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The GMB Union has announced the walkout of more than 50 staff workers at contractor Veolia, which runs household waste treatment sites in Mansfield, Ashfield and Worksop.
Council bin staff are not involved, but kerbside bin collections could still be hit, because the Veolia centres are involved in processing much of the county’s household waste.
The union says the week-long strike, due to begin on September 25, could affect a quarter of a million households.
District councils across the area say they are working with Nottinghamshire Council, the main waste authority, to assess the impact of the action.
Derek Higton, county council interim corporate director for place, says the authority is also working with Veolia to assess the potential strike action, but said the county’s network of 12 public household waste and recycling centres should not be affected by the walk-out – centres include: Brailwood Road in Bilsthorpe; Sidings Road in Kirkby; Kestral Road in Mansfield; and Oakfield Lane in Warsop.
He said: “We are aware of strike action by some Veolia staff. We are working with Veolia to understand the impact this may have on the operation of waste transfer facilities and domestic waste collection services in some parts of Nottinghamshire managed by district and borough councils.
“We will provide further updates in the coming days for residents. At present, we anticipate the operation of the council’s network of household waste and recycling centres will not be affected.”
Confirming the strike on Wednesday, GMB said it will affect Mansfield’s Crown Farm Way materials recovery facility alongside waste transfer sites on Welshcroft Close, Kirkby, and Claylands Avenue, Worksop.
These plants process household waste and recycling for more than 250,000 homes in north Nottinghamshire.
The union says its action comes after Veolia management “refused to engage” in negotiations over a pay rise for staff at the sites.
Mick Coppin, GMB organiser, said: “Veolia Nottinghamshire is raking in vast sums of money from local council taxpayers.
“In return, they’re expecting local workers to do dangerous, difficult, and smelly work for the minimum wage.
“Our members can no longer afford to heat their homes and pay their bills; they’re being driven to the breadline by a multi-million-pound company.”
A Veolia spokesman said: “Veolia and the GMB negotiated and agreed to a two-year pay deal for employees in Nottinghamshire in 2022 which recognised the hard work of our teams.
“We have offered to engage in early pay discussions for 2024.
“Veolia has honoured the agreement the company and the GMB entered into and it is therefore disappointing the GMB has sought to take industrial action at this time.
“We take the safety and comfort of our employees very seriously and the work undertaken is done to industry practice.
“Veolia will seek to minimise any disruption the industrial action may cause.”