WORKERS at Sheffield’s five household waste recycling centres have announced an indefinite strike - accusing management of breaking an agreement secured last month.
The sites at Deepcar, Gleadless Valley, High Green, Shirecliffe and Woodhouse, operated by contractor SOVA, had been affected by a series of walkouts over the summer in protest at plans to reduce opening hours due to council budget cuts.
An agreement to resolve the dispute was made in October via arbitration service, ACAS.
But Peter Davies, of the GMB union which represents staff, said: “The agreement reached has been broken. We had a deal for SOVA to handle a contract to recycle bulky waste which would have provided extra work so staff would be close to full-time hours over winter but it has been delayed and we do not know when the extra work will start.
“Our members’ hours have been cut to 27 per week, which is not enough to live on.
“SOVA have broken the agreement so we do not need to ballot to go on strike again.”
But Mr Davies added: “The indefinite strike is not due to start until December 22. That is to give time for further talks to take place to try to resolve this dispute once and for all.”
The news was met with disappointment.
Winnie Smith, of Arbourthorne Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “The workers are not going to get people’s sympathy and the strikes will make the public suffer, particularly at Christmas.”
Coun Jack Scott, of Sheffield Council, said: “I’m disappointed that after concessions made that the workforce’s first action has been to call a strike rather than talk to SOVA. We will be taking firm action to ensure the public is not inconvenienced.”