SiteKind campaign launched in Solihull

After a time when essential services and the key workers who provided them were celebrated, over half of Veolia’s public-facing staff have since reported a rise in abuse. Now Veolia, the UK’s leading environmental solutions company, is taking a stand after reports from frontline staff more than doubled in 2021, with a 118% increase compared to the same period in 2020.


Following a doubling of reports nationally, and a number of recent incidents affecting its Solihull team, Veolia has launched SiteKind in Solihull to support its recycling centre based staff respectively. The new campaign thanks residents who recognise the hard work of their teams and takes stronger action against those who abuse or endanger its staff. Whilst the majority of people are respectful of frontline staff, a rise in the most serious cases of physical and verbal abuse has led to a new commitment from the company to pursue more prosecutions. 


Building on previous initiatives within the company focusing on maintaining a safe workplace, the campaign includes a comprehensive training programme to support staff to defuse situations, handle instances effectively and know how and when to involve the police. Frustration at being stuck behind a collection vehicle or queues at recycling centres are not reasons to abuse key workers and the company is reaffirming its support to staff who are victims of abuse.


Councillor Ken Hawkins, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: “Most of our residents are polite and courteous but unfortunately some people behave very differently when they are inside a motor vehicle at our recycling centre – something we all see with road rage incidents on a daily basis. To the majority of our residents I’d like to say thank you for helping our staff do their job. And to the minority of abusive residents, let them be in no doubt that the council fully supports Veolia’s no tolerance initiative. Nobody should face abuse at work and we are right behind Veolia’s SiteKind campaign to end it.”


Shaun Donohue, General Manager for North & Midlands at Veolia said:

“Our staff work tirelessly to ensure the service they provide is of the highest standard; ensuring that the customer has a pleasant experience at our Household Waste and Recycling Centre. During the pandemic, staff were treated as local heroes by the public, now life is moving back to normal, reports on abuse are starting to climb. No one should experience abuse at work and we are committed to tackling this issue and supporting our staff through our SiteKind campaign.”


Richard Hulland, Chief Risk and Assurance Officer, Veolia UK & Ireland said: 

“Our staff carry out essential duties across the UK and they are proud and passionate about what they do and an important service for the local community, but hearing their stories of abuse has been incredibly distressing. Abuse is not part of their job description, so we kindly ask the public to be SiteKind.” 


“As well as appealing to the public to show their appreciation for our teams, we are also focusing on training and support for our employees to respond to incidents. We also recognise the impact to our teams from constant verbal abuse therefore, we will take the most serious action for the most serious attacks, including prosecutions, in order to build a safer workplace environment for our colleagues.”


In Solihull, the focus will be on our staff at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Bickenhill, where incidents have occurred. The SiteKind campaign will thank residents for their patience and invite them to engage positively with our hard working teams. Veolia hopes to decrease the instances of abuse, but has pledged to staff that all reports will be investigated and strong action taken when necessary. 


The campaign has already been successful in ten local authority areas with the full support of the local councils and Veolia’s Executive Board, including some of the worst affected areas in Hampshire and South London.