Orion recycling workers walk out after bosses ignore health risks

Workers at a recycling plant kicked off a wildcat strike after management refuses to replace breathing masks' filters.

Workers at East London recycling plant Orion walked out on Wednesday after repeated complains about clogged up face mask filters were ignored by management.

The workers, who are all members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union, are protesting what they describe as “inhumane working conditions” and “arrogant and callous” behaviour by their bosses.

Filters in the workers’ breathing masks is meant to be changed on a weekly basis, but management has ceased to replace them even monthly. The masks’ filters protect users from inhaling dust and fumes prevalent at the recycling plant. The workers, many of which are Latin American migrants, argue their health is in imminent danger.

One of the day’s slogans was:

“We deserve respect!”

Further complaints on their work uniforms include the lack of adequate earmuffs, work gloves so worn out the workers often suffer cuts and sores, and poor quality googles. Orion workers are also not entitled to showers and the toilets on the premises were said to be rat-infested.

After their 10am walkout, it was reported that picket line negotiations had also started taking place over sick pay and a raise in their £7.50 an hour salary (to a London living wage of £10.20 an hour).

A tweet from the UVW union said:

“Several concessions already made.”

The walkout was held under illegal circumstances but the union said it was now balloting workers for an imminent and indefinite strike.

A video of the plant workers’ working conditions can be seen here:

Joana Ramiro is a reporter for Left Foot Forward. You can follow her on Twitter for all sorts of rants here.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

2 Responses to “Orion recycling workers walk out after bosses ignore health risks”

  1. The dark side of recycling – and why a Green New Deal must strengthen workers' rights | Left Foot Forward

    […] conditions” that a small group of Peruvian workers in Newham walked off the job in a historic wildcat strike, March 2018. They demanded basic protective equipment, soap, toilet paper, and a living wage and […]

  2. The dark side of recycling – and why a Green New Deal must strengthen workers’ rights | Global Recycler

    […] conditions” that a small group of Peruvian workers in Newham walked off the job in a historic wildcat strike, March 2018. They demanded basic protective equipment, soap, toilet paper, and a living wage and […]

Leave a Reply