Call for change at Sheffield waste recycling centres

GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
GMB organiser at Sheffield Council, Peter Davies.
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Union bosses will suggest Sheffield’s household waste recycling sites be taken over by a local charity after a long-running dispute took a new twist.

Industrial action was held at the five centres - operated by sub-contractor The Green Company on behalf of Sheffield Council and Veolia - over pay, conditions and bullying claims last year, but it has been suspended since November for negotiations.

Last week the union called on the council to act as it said The Green Company was using new staff on zero hour contracts, as well as unpaid workers referred by the probation service, to try to break the dispute.

The council said it would be seeking action and the authority ‘could no longer have confidence’ in the ability of the Green Company to manage the centres or act as a ‘responsible provider of public services.’

Peter Davies, from GMB, said he was now arranging urgent talks.

He said: “I am quite willing to continue suspending industrial action and ending the dispute as long as I can get some clarity as to what is going to happen.

“Clearly when you get a bold and brave statement like that from the council there is no future for that organisation in delivering public services.”

Profit from The Green Company goes to charity Salvaire, for intended use as grants to charities.

But workers have highlighted payments made to Martine Laffan-Butler, trustee and chairman of Salvaire and executive chairman on The Green Company.

GMB says 35 per cent of the budget goes on management.

Mr Davies added: “It is a charity model that isn’t working - the trustees are in London, it is faceless.

“We need a Sheffield charity run by the people of Sheffield, delivering a service for Sheffield - if that is what people want.”

The Green Company referred enquiries to Veolia and Veolia did not comment.The centres are at Woodhouse, Gleadless. Deepcar, High Green and Shirecliffe.

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