In this case V stands for Viridor! A year or so back Colin Drummond the boss of Viridor Waste Management did the undercover boss bit for the telly, going round the shop floor, realising what life was like on the front line then doling out a bit of money, pat on the back, bit of training, a proper job rather than agency work and then getting on with being the boss, at which point it all seems to have gone back to normal.
Last year at the Bedford recycling centre Viridor who operate the site did something similar and sent in a “spy” from posing as an agency worker to snoop on the staff at the site, organised by some bloke from Peterborough. It all kicked off when accusations were made against staff of drug dealing and ended when police sniffer dogs were brought in. Nothing was found, not a whiff. Nothing. Makes you wonder if they used a reputable firm of snoopers as there are all manner of implications here i.e. RIPA legislation (Investigative Powers). While the undercover sting got in the paper the drugs aspect of things got hushed up, some nodding dog called Nigel Wright made a few daft comments trying to make sure the staff were put in their place, no apology. Undercover boss!
Its all kicked off again last week. Here’s the story, the Contract Manager from Bedford Borough (a council employee) wanted a flat screen telly so he asked two of the site staff (Viridor employees) if they could help him, so they duly obliged. One was asked to carry out gardening work round the site, he obliged and at one point rescued an old strimmer from the skip, and took it home to repair. This chap has a history of mending gardening kit for use on the five sites Viridor manage. Anyway the undercover boss has sacked one and suspended two others and to all intents and purposes given that the Council Contracts Managers (the paymasters) actually asked them to carry out these activities this has all the makings of victimisation and entrapment so as you can see its not a happy camp.
Anyway Viridor now have a growing resource this being totally disgruntled staff quite prepared to talk and act on behalf of their colleagues and its brilliant. We have issues about performance, health and safety, contaminated water and a Central Bedfordshire councillor regularly taking stuff away from a site for his own ends.
What we have are staff dismissed and kicked as a result of carrying out the instructions of their superiors. We have site CCTV on site placed there to protect staff being used to spy on their working day. There’s also a big chunk of duplicity!
We have the Peterborough connection again, we have mentioned Bedford Borough’s love of all things from this city including more than a few that tootle down daily to work for us in the waste section. Its hard to believe that staff at Bedford didn’t know about the undercover spy business as the bloke from Viridor that organised it comes from…Peterborough and they must have worked with him or had contact.
Anyway apart from Nigel Wright who is Viridor Contract Manager you’ll notice we haven’t mentioned names reason being this is now in the hands of Unison at regional level. Its a waiting game however in the meantime just to show the happyier side of Viridor here’s a picture of Alan Munson, Viridor Peterborough at some event or other! Guess which one it is!