Recycling staff bonus deal puts an end to Sheffield strike

Queues: Recycling workers planned a one-day strike but it turned out to be an indefinite walkout.
Queues: Recycling workers planned a one-day strike but it turned out to be an indefinite walkout.
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RECYCLING centre workers in Sheffield have called off their indefinite strike after a bonus of up to £2 per hour was agreed, plus an assurance there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Queues had formed during the strike outside the city’s dump-it sites, and there were fears fly-tipping would increase.

Barnsley Council put a ban on Sheffield householders driving over the border to leave rubbish at dump-it sites there.

News the strike is off means that, from today, staff at the centres in Deepcar, Gleadless Valley, High Green, Shirecliffe and Woodhouse in Sheffield will return to work after a total of 28 days’ industrial action.

The protest started as one-day strikes and turned into an indefinite walkout.

GMB trade union organiser, Peter Davies, presented a 4,000-name petition in support of the recycling centre workers to a full meeting of Sheffield Council.

He told councillors: “These are some of the lowest-paid workers in Sheffield and they have not been striking for the fun of it.

“Their hours had been cut previously due to previous reductions in opening hours, and there have been cuts to terms and conditions.

“These guys previously relied on a 20 per cent bonus on top of minimum wage, which has gone. So they had effectively received a 20 per cent pay cut.

“We have had a massive campaign which attracted a great deal of public support.

“I am pleased to say we have been talking for the last three days and we have had assurances that all our members who have lost their jobs will be reinstated and there will be a trial bonus scheme.”

Mr Davies added he was pleased the council had agreed to look into the business model for the recycling centres. The union believes they could be making more money from the sale of waste materials to cover operating costs.

He said the current number of managers - 10 - employed by the council, contractor Veolia, and subcontractor SOVA, represented ‘too many chiefs’ to oversee 28 workers.

The business model and opening hours for recycling will be reviewed, starting with a full scrutiny board meeting with the council.

Several of the striking workers had been made redundant when reduced opening hours came in at the start of June.

SOVA has now agreed to reinstate all of them - though a handful of staff are still taking voluntary redundancy.

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “Four thousand people is a lot of public support. It is a really important issue that we have to get right. We have made some improvements and concessions.”

Recycling centre sites are open 10am to 6pm on the following days: Shirecliffe seven days a week; Deepcar daily except Wednesday; High Green daily except Thursday; Woodhouse daily except Tuesday; Gleadless Valley Fridays to Mondays.