Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strike Leaves Rubbish to Rot; 10th Day of 'Health and Safety' Stoppage

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strike Leaves Rubbish to Rot; 10th Day of 'Health and Safety' Stoppage

Article excerpt


STINKING rubbish is lying uncollected across a London borough after a strike by refuse workers entered its second week.

Members of the Transport and General Workers' Union walked out in Haringey after being ordered to carry out extra collections.

This has left thousands of households with no collection since Monday last week.

Private contractor Haringey Accord gave its 48 striking employees until noon today to return to work. It has been using managers to carry out emergency collections from hospitals and council estates. The workers refused to accept "bribes" of [pounds sterling]1,450 each to accept the new arrangements, which the T&G says will compromise health and safety as collections will have to be rushed.

Regional organiser Paul Fawcett said: "Our members have made it quite clear to managers that this is not about money, it's about health and safety and about the company disciplining them if they don't do the work. I don't know how long it will last but our members' resolve seems to be getting stronger.

"The public have been very supportive now they know it's not about us wanting more money."

The Labour-run council has come under attack for trying to wash its hands of the problem despite insisting Accord cut staff under a contract designed to encourage recycling.

Residents in Haringey's 95,000 properties have been advised to take their own rubbish to the borough's two waste disposal centres and wrap waste food to avoid attracting rats.

The council claims that between five and seven crews have been operating each day - the unions and Liberal Democrats say the figure is much lower - allowing health dangers to be minimised.

Street cleaning and business waste have not been affected and recycling collections have continued as they are done by a separate contractor.

Lib-Dem opposition leader Neil Williams said no efforts had been made to recruit temporary staff and claimed an emergency hotline for residents was constantly engaged.

He said the authority had plenty of time to draw up contingency plans after a one-day stoppage in March, a strike ballot in May and the collapse of talks at conciliation service Acas. …

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