Bid for more work at Sheffield recycling sites

Dispute: Workers have held strikes at Sheffield's recycling centres, including Blackstock Road, in a dispute over cuts to hours.
Dispute: Workers have held strikes at Sheffield's recycling centres, including Blackstock Road, in a dispute over cuts to hours.
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EXTRA work could be created by Sheffield recycling centres’ operator Sova in a bid to resolve the long-running dispute with staff over cuts to opening hours.

The company is one of three firms bidding for a contract to recycle bulky waste currently sent to landfill by Sheffield Council’s main waste contractor, Veolia.

If Sova is successful, it would have enough work for the 32 front-line staff to return to full-time hours.

Staff at the five recycling centres, which are operated on behalf of Sheffield Council, have been striking after their hours were reduced as part of savings to the council’s budget.

Peter Davies, regional organiser for the GMB union, which represents the recycling workers, said: “We are due to find out tomorrow whether Sova has been successful in the tendering process.

“The company’s bid is a sensible thing to do - what better place to break up bulky materials than at the recycling centres.

“It would be fantastic news if Sova won the contract because the extra work would mitigate the impact of the cuts to opening hours.”

But Mr Davies warned that if Sova fails to win the contract, the workers may decide to vote for more strikes as their alternative ideas for how recycling centres could operate with a smaller budget have not been considered.

Proposals by GMB members included cutting management costs and levying a token £1 fee for people using the recycling centres.

Mr Davies said: “Nobody has taken our concerns or ideas seriously.”

Sheffield Council said the proposed contract was part of efforts to cut the amount of waste sent to landfill - and slash resulting environmental taxes.

Currently, bulky items are dumped but can mostly be recycled.