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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 October 2019

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers while council boss pockets 1m

Caerphilly bin workers protest October 2019, photo Dave Reid

Caerphilly bin workers protest October 2019, photo Dave Reid   (Click to enlarge)

Sasha O'Neil, Caerphilly Socialist Party

Unison and GMB trade union banners brightened the rain outside Caerphilly council offices on 3 October. The air rang with chants as waste management workers and their supporters demanded fair play for themselves and five unfairly sacked workmates.

The council has been using cameras - installed on waste collection vehicles for insurance purposes - to spy on the workforce and gather evidence to build a case against the bin workers.

The workers have always gone home when they finish their rounds - be that late or early. That's custom and practice. The five bin workers have been sacked for carrying out their duties as they have always done - under the direction of management. Many more are under investigation.

The workforce says that the spying is a clear violation of their GDPR data protection law rights. Even without the new GDPR rules, trade unions have long successfully challenged such practices.

A bin worker told the Socialist: "Most of these boys have been under investigation since November. Some of them have been suspended since then. The council has given no reason. If we're doing something wrong, we haven't been given the chance to correct it.

"Management knew what was going on. They're still letting people go home when the work is finished."

Another worker explained that the council has a hidden agenda: "They're flooding the department with agency workers and asking the workforce to train them to take their jobs off them.

"They're trying to replace as many people as possible with agency staff. Then they'll say our department is too expensive - and they'll have an excuse to contract the service out.

"Barbara Jones, the interim Labour leader of the council, said when she came into post as deputy that she wasn't afraid to contract out any service. And that's her plan.

"This is just the beginning. If they get away with contracting out waste management, they'll go onto highways, park services. Where will it end?"

Barbara Jones has just replaced David Poole, who resigned in September over claims of financial misconduct. Workers don't want to let Jones carry on where Poole left off.

Bin workers were supported by council workers from a number of other departments, by union officials, Socialist Party members and by Caerphilly Trade Union Council.

They are prepared to put up a determined fight to win reinstatement for the sacked workers and make the council shelve their plans to contract out services.

The bin workers were protesting outside a council meeting that was considering the case of Anthony O'Sullivan, the council chief executive, who had been caught trying to slip a 20% pay-rise for himself and other executives through a council committee. The scandal was only dealt with in 2013 when council workers, whose pay had been frozen, walked out in protest.

O'Sullivan had been suspended on gardening leave for six years and was receiving full pay amounting to 1 million! He was eventually sacked for gross misconduct but the kid glove treatment he received contrasted starkly with the summary sackings of Caerphilly's bin workers.

Caerphilly Socialist Party is calling for a trade union and community public enquiry into the running of Caerphilly council.

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In The Socialist 9 October 2019:


What we think

Brexit theatrics continue

Syria: Trump gives green light to Turkey to attack Kurds


News

Cutting, lying Tories - kick them out!

Asda workers protest callous bosses

Cynical Tories' domestic violence bill not enough


Labour and workers' rights

Corbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

Labour and the fight for a shorter working week


Obituary

Tony Mulhearn 1939-2019


Workplace news

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

Vote yes to Royal Mail strike action to take on the bullying bosses

Birmingham HS2 protest against bosses' attacks on trade union organisation

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

Equity manifesto lays out anti-austerity model for arts

Vote for socialist fighter Jared Wood in RMT elections

Sainsbury's strikers win

Unison's retired members reflect growing anger

Lincolnshire health visitors strike


Chinese revolution

Chinese revolution of 1944-49: 'The second greatest event in human history'


International socialist news and analysis

Trump, impeachment and the need for an independent workers' party


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialism: The alternative to capitalist austerity, low pay and crisis

Best way to fight back? Join the Socialist Party

Socialism 2019: why I'm going... and why you should too!

Waltham Forest: mobilisation needed to defend abortion rights

Huge opposition to Barry rehab ward closure

'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

Selling the Socialist

York freshers success


Reviews

Book review: She Said - Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Film review: Joker - Sympathising with a monster created by today's incendiary conditions


 

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