Union action secures social distancing for waste collection workers

Waste disposal workers providing services to Thurrock Council have forced their employer to introduce social distancing after Unite, Britain’s leading union threatened action.

The essential workers raised concerns that their working practices meant they were unable to social distance during the current health crisis whilst providing waste disposal services to the residents of Thurrock.

In correspondence with the council, Unite regional officer Onay Kasab warned that the union would “support any and all members who refuse to begin work.”

Thurrock council has now agreed to Unite’s proposals which include;

  • Social distancing – employees can go to the waste collection route in their own cars rather than going to the council depot and travel in waste vehicles. The employer will pay the mileage and ensure parking exemptions.
  • Vehicles and equipment to be deep cleaned regularly.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “After our members raised their serious concerns about social distancing and their union made clear it would support any and all members who refused to work, the council quickly acted. Thurrock Council are to be congratulated for acting speedily to resolve the workers’ genuine concerns.

“More than ever council residents are realising the importance of these essential workers who keep our streets clean.  The workers’ safety is paramount, and solidarity delivers fairness at work. At every turn Unite will stand up to employers who unnecessarily put the union’s members in harm’s way during this unprecedented health crisis.”

Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values: Secure Work – fighting for jobs and job security; Strong Voice – a union which is a respected voice at work; and Decent Pay – a union focused on pay and conditions.

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