GMB Members To Consider Industrial Action Over Proposed Changes And Closures To Norfolk Household Waste Recycling Sites
The council's ultimate aim is to reduce the number of sites from 20, mostly rural and some part time sites, to 7 super centres across the whole of a mainly rural county says GMB.
GMB members working at the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across Norfolk, have been told by their employer Norse Environmental Waste Solutions (NEWS), part of the Norse group of companies and their client Norfolk County Council (NCC), that there are many significant proposals to change the HWRC service that will impact on residents and staff.
The council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee met on Friday (18 September) to discuss closure of up to 13 sites, making sites part time, increasing fee's and reducing summer opening times among others as it seeks cuts of £440,000 per year.
Ivan Mercer, GMB Regional Organiser, said “These proposals have not been well thought out. But these proposals will affect every GMB member and resident of Norfolk.
The council's ultimate aim is to reduce the number of sites from 20, mostly rural and some part time sites, to 7 super centres across the whole of a mainly rural county. Forcing thousands of people to travel further in their cars to recycle and cannot be green
This will have a devastating effect on the job security and morale of staff providing the service.
These men and women provide an excellent service in a sometimes difficult environment. Most are low paid and I know many rely on benefits.
This appears to be more profit led than for any concerns for the environment.
The HWRC service relies on temporary and agency labour to some extent. Wages are low and on occasions it's a difficult environment to work in.
NCC already make a decent profit from the existing HWRC service. However members know that with a bit of investment from NCC they could not just provide a better service, they could improve efficiency across the sites and make them a better place to work as well.
Our members are crying out to be consulted on how they can improve the profitability and efficiency on site.
Members may shortly be in dispute with NEWS over their pay claim. They are seeking the Living Wage as a minimum rate of pay and attempted to assist with this by agreeing to consolidate some or even all of their contractual bonus to help achieve this.
NCC would not agree to this. They believe that by agreeing to NEWS paying a Living Wage and consolidating the bonus will result in the loss of incentive to recycle. What a cheek!
There are not really many incentives at the moment but they are still doing it and still providing a profitable service.
Not only are NCC apparently tying the hands of NEWS they may be forcing GMB members to consider industrial action.
With these proposed changes to the HWRC service, members may have to consider action on this as well.
GMB will be consulting with its members over the next few weeks to determine what their response will be.”
Contact: Ivan Mercer on 01603 626492 or 07713 077194 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880