In October, workers at Bristol's domestic recycling collection service owned by Avon Friends of the Earth started a campaign of industrial action. They are demanding an end to compulsory overtime, a standard 40-hour week and strong measures to deal with the hostile, duplicitous and uncooperative management at Resourcesaver. Talks between UNISON and Resourcesaver ground to a halt because of unacceptable preconditions demanded by Resourcesaver, namely dropping one of the key members of the UNISON negotiating team, who is an elected representative! As a response to this, Unison members voted unanimously to hold a further 2-day strike that began on the 6th November.
It is not just Friends of the Earth; workers for other charities and environmental groups are reporting similar problems. Greenpeace (Canada) are becoming well known for their union-busting tactics and recently broke the contacts of thirteen workers and locked them out, one of them is still facing court charges for being arrested on a Greenpeace action!
What is needed is for us to network together across and beyond the union lines, and share experiences and problems and find solutions. If anyone has any experiences they would like to share, any ideas on how to address the problems or would like to get involved in building a voluntary/community worker's network, please contact Catalyst.