Settlement reached in Tower Hamlets refuse worker dispute

Refuse collectors and strike supporters on the picket line. Picture: Sophie Cox

Refuse collectors and strike supporters on the picket line. Picture: Sophie Cox - Credit: Sophie Cox

A holiday pay dispute that led to Tower Hamlets refuse workers going on a week-long strike has been resolved.

Unite, the union which represented the workers, said that a settlement with Veolia had been reached on Monday, March 23 following “renewed negotiations”.

A spokesman said that in light of the coronavirus crisis, both parties had made resolving the dispute a priority.

The strike, which began at 3pm on Monday, March 9, came after members of the Unite union voted for industrial action.

The union claimed that Veolia - which holds the refuse, recycling and street cleaning contract for Tower Hamlets - had not settled a collective holiday pay claim despite reaching an agreement with unions in August last year.

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While some employees had received the money, the union said others were owed up to £9,000.

The settlement was accepted by Unite’s 250 members at Veolia and staff are now working overtime to “ensure that streets are clean and rubbish is collected”.

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Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Given the current crisis and the vital role refuse workers carry out in maintaining public hygiene, Unite and Veolia made finding a solution to the industrial dispute a priority.

“Our members have accepted a settlement reached during negotiations between Unite and Veolia and the dispute is now over. Veolia staff are now working overtime across Tower Hamlets to ensure that streets are clean and rubbish is collected.”

A Veolia spokeswoman said: “We can confirm this situation is now resolved.”

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