Bin workers face sack if they don’t work on Queen’s Funeral

While most council services have shut down for the bank holiday weekend ahead of Monday’s solemn royal ceremonials, Veolia staff have been told that if they don’t show up for work, they could be fired.

Taking out the rubbish: staff working the bin lorries in Croydon have been threatened with the sack if they don’t work on Bank Holiday Monday

Croydon’s bin workers have been threatened with the sack if they don’t turn up for work on Monday, the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Monday September 19 was declared a bank holiday by the new king, Charles, at his accession proclamation last Saturday.

Yet while most other council services are closed for the day, and Croydon’s part-time Mayor Jason Perry has seized the opportunity to cancel Town Hall business for 10 days, the refuse workers have been ordered that they must work, or face disciplinary action, even the risk of being fired.

According to our sources at the main Croydon depot at Factory Lane, “It’s not Veolia, our employers, who have made this decision.

“It’s the council that’s insisting that we work.”

The staff’s main concern is the hostile reception that they fear they may face from the public when they try to carry out their job in the early hours of the day of the Queen’s funeral.

“Everyone will be going mad when we’re out there working,” one worker told Inside Croydon on condition of anonymity, to avoid any other recriminations. “But we’ve got to go out there and work or they will sack us.”

The vast majority of other Croydon Council services are shutting up shop this evening and will not be open for business again until Tuesday.

These include the council’s phone lines (“Our contact centre will be closed for general enquiries on Monday 19 September,” according to the council’s website), Access Croydon (“Our face-to-face services provided by Access Croydon at 8 Mint Walk will also be closed on Monday 19 September”), the borough’s libraries and museum (though oh-so-thoughtfully the council says that “Loans due on Monday 19 September will be extended until Tuesday 20 September”. Which is nice), and all the borough’s leisure centres will be closed.

Even emergency phone lines for children’s social care and adult social care will be closed on Monday, with the council website suggesting that in the event of an emergency, you should call 999…

And while the council says, “Reuse and recycling centres will… be closed on Monday 19 September”, the bin collections service “remains unaffected over the bank holiday”.

Funeral dire: how the council’s website carries the news that there will be no interruption to its bin collections schedule for the national day of mourning

Many other councils around the country have suspended their kerbside bin collection services on Monday, some specifically stating that they are doing so “as a mark of respect”. It’s what Her Maj would have wanted…

In Tory-run Bromley, because of the funeral, “The recycling and waste collection timetable has been adjusted,” with no collections on Monday.

Another neighbouring borough, Lambeth, says, “Rubbish and recycling services will be paused for the State Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen on September 19, and resume with a one-day delay for the rest of the week.”

It’s the same in Southwark, too.

In the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, no less, “Bin collections will take place a day later than scheduled this week, completing by the end of Saturday 24 September. Collection crews will work hard to collect as soon as possible so please leave your bin out.”

In Sutton and Merton (both like Croydon, members of the South London Waste Partnership, with Veolia as their rubbish contractor), they are carrying out bin collections on the bank holiday Monday.

The bin workers’ union, Unite, told Inside Croydon that it has no objection in principle to its members working on bank holidays, provided that they are properly compensated for their efforts. In Croydon, bin workers are understood to receive triple pay for working bank holidays.

But a spokesperson for Unite said, “It is disappointing that Veolia has threatened disciplinary action on this issue.”

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Bin workers face sack if they don’t work on Queen’s Funeral

  1. Ian Stewart says:

    Good luck with that in an Employment Tribunal, I think Veolia might lose.
    Anyway, if an enhancement for the day is offered – such as triple time, as you speculate – ask for volunteers, I’m pretty sure management would be injured in the rush.
    We know it’s a sad time for Brian & Co and for some of the Country, but not everyone is grief-stricken and a bit of extra dosh in these trying times would probably overwhelm the urge to sit in front of the telly for three hours.

  2. Lewis White says:

    Shame ! The dustmen should be allowed to have the day off.

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