As bin workers in Doncaster were set to strike this week, bosses were caught out using agencies to hire scab workers. This could be illegal.
Unite union members were set to strike from Wednesday to Sunday in the first of two planned walkouts over pay and job losses.
Contractor Suez had made a 2 percent pay offer conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime—meaning most workers’ pay would not go up.
It also wants to sack over 100 workers in a workforce of 250. That’s why they voted by 89 percent to strike over pay and are preparing for a second ballot over the job losses.
Unite revealed an advert circulated by Aim Recruit—an agency used by Suez—for work loading refuse lorries in Doncaster.
“This work is to cover industrial action and the workers will need to cross a picket line,” it says. The law prohibits using agency workers to cover strikers’ work.
The buck for this stops with the Labour council that contracts its work to Suez. It is shameful for a Labour council’s contractor to impose massive cuts through illegal scabbing.
Jeremy Corbyn needs to intervene. He must make clear that Doncaster mayor Ros Jones needs to bring the council’s private contractors to heel—and bring services back in-house.
The workers plan a second walkout from Saturday of next week.
Another dispute looms in Wigan, where Unison union members have called a strike on Thursday of next week followed by a six-day overtime ban.
The Labour council plans a move to three-weekly bin collections which will bring workers long and irregular hours as well as job cuts.