STAFF at Sheffield dumps have voted to begin an indefinite strike after Christmas in a row over cuts to opening hours and jobs - which could leave households with nowhere to take their festive waste.
Some 38 of 40 staff at the five Sheffield household waste recycling centre sites who are members of the GMB trade union will begin their walkout on Tuesday, December 27, after all 31 ballots returned were in favour of strike action.
The dispute centres on plans to cut the number of opening days which could result in around a third of dumpit site staff losing their jobs.
GMB union regional organiser Peter Davies said Sheffield Council, Veolia and the subcontractor which runs the sites have failed to consider alternative ways of reducing the cost to the council which would allow the sites to be kept open and preserve jobs.
The Star can reveal that Veolia charges the council more than what it pays its subcontractor to run the sites.
Mr Davies said: “We believe the council overpays massively compared to the £390,000 Veolia then gives to its subcontractor.
“The council has failed to look at other options to retain opening hours and jobs which could have helped to cover the cost of sites, such as charging people £1 to use them.
“The vote for strike action was unanimous because these guys have nothing left to lose.”
Sheffield Council will decide on the future of the waste management service, including whether to proceed with the reduced hours at the recycling centres, in a meeting next month.
Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for finance, added: “We want a review of the contract with Veolia.”
Veolia said a ‘market testing exercise’ of the household waste recycling centres had found the council was getting ‘good value for money’.
■ Page 11: Row over bin cash.