Job loss plans scaled down after three-day strikes

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PLANNED cuts to opening hours at Sheffield recycling centres and job losses have been scaled down after a dispute with workers which led to a three-day strike at the weekend.

A new option has been put forward to the GMB trade union, which represents the 39 staff at the household waste recycling centres at Beighton, Gleadless Valley, Deepcar, High Green and Shirecliffe.

It includes six instead of nine job losses and centres will be open for more days of the week.

The original plans meant only one centre would have been open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but all sites open from Fridays to Mondays.

Instead, the sites’ subcontractor SOVA has come up with a proposal that Shirecliffe site is open seven days a week, with Beighton, Deepcar and High Green open six days. The Blackstock Road site would be closed from Tuesdays to Thursday but would be open for trade waste.

The company is proposing other savings can be made by reducing opening hours from 9am to 6pm in the summer to 10am to 6pm, and to 10am to 4pm in the winter.

SOVA’s plans have been accepted by the council and will be implemented from Wednesday, June 6.

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “We have worked with the employees at the sites, the council’s waste management contractor Veolia and subcontractor SOVA, which runs the sites.

“The basic problem is Sheffield is facing massive Government cuts. Of course, if there was an alternative we would take it.”

The council wants to save £485,000 from the cost of the recycling centres.

The GMB believes enough money could be made from selling recyclables to cover the cost of running the sites - or that a £1 levy be charged for residents using the site, but that idea is not included in the council’s plans.

There are currently 26 workers and 13 foremen, but the council’s new proposal would result in the loss of only seven foremen, reduced to six if one downgrades to become an ordinary worker.

The council’s original plans would have seen nine jobs axed.