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Unite union says Bromley binmen strike 'increasingly likely'
PROLONGED strikes by binmen in the run up to Christmas are looking increasingly likely after a worker was suspended over an altercation with a car driver.
Members of Unite union are already planning to strike this winter over the issue of four workers who Veolia Environmental Services fired for gross misconduct.
They were sacked after being photographed putting a bag of garden waste in the back of their refuse vehicle.
It is understood Veolia, which collects household rubbish on behalf of Bromley Council, believes money changed hands for this so sacked the crew following an internal investigation.
And Onay Kasab, the union’s regional officer, says a dispute is even more likely after the suspension of a Unite representative, who works as a bin lorry driver.
Before a pay negotiation meeting at the depot in Baths Road, Bromley, last Thursday Mr Kasab was told the union steward was being suspended from work with immediate effect.
It is alleged the man had an altercation with a driver and the driver had made a complaint.
Mr Kasab said: “The reality is this is the sort of stress that our drivers have to deal with day in day out, where motorists who are in a hurry get frustrated at being held up by dust lorries who are in fact carrying out a role keeping our communities clean.
“On this occasion we have witness evidence and CCTV evidence supporting our member’s side of events.”
He added: “This action is clearly provocative and is the employer attempting to kick back after the protest that took place at the depot.
“Rather than work with the union to resolve the dispute, the employer has in fact now made a dispute even more likely.”
A Veolia Environmental Services spokesman said: “On the morning of October 5 in Bromley High Street one of our employees was involved in an incident involving two members of the public.
“We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into this incident.”