Sheffield bin strike: Refuse collectors vote to ‘strike permanently’ over pay dispute with Veolia

Bin collectors in Sheffield have voted to go on indefinite strike from November 22 after the pay dispute with their employer Veolia escalated.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 12:05 pm

The GMB Union said refuse workers had voted to ‘strike permanently’ after Veolia management ‘broke the bank’ to bring in agency staff in an attempt, the union said, to undermine their industrial action.

Veolia - a firm that manages the city's rubbish on behalf of Sheffield City Council - is facing more industrial action by refuse workers next week over a pay dispute.

More than 100 bin collectors went on strike on Monday and took part in a protest march and rally after voting for industrial action following a below-inflation pay offer from Veolia.

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Bin workers went on strike in Sheffield on Monday over pay dispute and are now threatening to go on permanent strike if their pay dispute with Veolia is not resolved

In response, Veolia said additional crews would be deployed throughout the week to minimise the impact on bin collections for Sheffield residents following Monday’s protest.

However, according to the union, Veolia paid out ‘vast sums’ for agency staff to try and break the strike.

Notice has now been served on the employer that from November 22, workers will strike all day, every day until the dispute is resolved.

‘Veolia needs to stop opening the cheque book’

Sheffield bin collectors went on strike on Monday (November 8) following an industrial action against its empoyers, Veolia over a pay dispute.

More than 200,000 homes could be affected by the industrial action.

Lee Parkinson, GMB Organiser, said: “Veolia needs to stop opening the cheque book trying to break this strike using out of town labour and get back to the table to negotiate an end to this dispute.

“The council can order that now and need to if they want to avoid this battle turning into a war.”

The GMB Union, which organised Monday’s protest, said more protests are being planned in the next two weeks if the issues surrounding the pay deal are not addressed by Veolia.

Its representative, Michael Hinchcliffe, said the workers want a pay rise that reflects the hard work they put in during the pandemic.

He said the initial deal that was offered to the commercial division was a three per cent increase on a two-year deal with a £500 payment, which is no longer acceptable due to national insurance hike and a five per cent inflation.

Another four-hour protest is planned on November 15 and an 'all out' strike on November 22, when the permanent strike is set to begin.

We are disappointed to announce that despite Veolia proposing an agreement of a 3% increase in year one and 3% increase in year two, which met the requests of the GMB union, this improved deal was rejected by a ballot.

Veolia: ‘We are disappointed’

Veolia has expressed their disappointment over the industrial action although an offer to end the dispute has been made.

The firm said: “We are disappointed to announce that despite Veolia proposing an agreement of a three per cent increase in year one and three per cent increase in year two, which met the requests of the GMB union, this improved deal was rejected by a ballot.

“We understand the GMB is now seeking a one year six per cent deal with further industrial action planned.”

They said they will continue to engage with the workers and GMB representatives and are working to minimise any disruption to residents’ recycling and waste services.

"We will provide further information to residents regarding changes to bin collections and would like to apologise for the inconvenience this will cause,” they added.

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