Friday, 4 November 2011

Binman Suspended at Bradley Fold Depot of Bury MBC

Manager, Neil Long, 'made decision to suspend'

ON WEDNESDAY management at the Bradley Fold Waste Depot of Bury MBC suspended a binman, a member of Unite and a Safety Representative, under the apparent pretext of the 'Dignity at Work Agreement'. No details of the grounds for the suspension were provided to the binman or to his representative, but as this action by management preceeded a workplace meeting today over safety at work and raised bin lids, which the suspended worker had long expressed concern it was suggested that this suspension was as a consequence of the man's trade union activities. The individual, Jason McKenna, has been particularly vocal on issues of safety with regard to bin lids, especially since a binman down South in Dorset was killed as a result of one such incident with a raised bin lid.

The manager, who is reported to have demanded Jason McKenna's suspension under the exotic title of 'Dignity at Work', is Neil Long: though Mr. Long was not present at yesterday's meeting suspending Mr McKenna, one of his colleagues there said that it was his decision. It may be recalled that Mr Long last Summer, at a packed meeting of binmen and including the local Unite branch secretary, informed the men that all bin lids should be totally closed for purposes of safe collection.

Health and safety has long been a concern among the binmen at the Bradley Fold Depot of Bury MBC and a serious incident in which a vehicle was set on fire was reported on this Northern Voices Blog last year. Other issues at Bradley Fold have been complaints of 'nepotism' and 'favouritism' with regard to some of the lower middle management decisions. Even more serious perhaps has been the weak survival rate of trade union representatives at Bradley Fold Depot.

It may be recalled that a few years ago one binman shop steward at Bradley Fold, was dismissed together with two colleagues after management used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to film them all while going about their duties. This later led to a charge that they had been taking bribes; in that case a bottle of Strawberry Volvic, and they were dismissed. Later there was an out-of-Court settlement in with all three got payments from Bury MBC, amid widespread publicity in the media. Next January, the case of another dismissed Bradley Fold shop steward is schedule to take place at the Manchester Employment Tribunal: that hearing will include Dismissal for Trade Union Activities, and Unfair Dismissal.

The colourful history of labour relations at Bradley Fold and Bury MBC looks set to continue judging by the indications in the current 'Dignity at Work' case.

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