Sheffield binmen have accepted a pay deal – settling a bitter dispute which had threatened to leave thousands of bins unemptied.
The 200 staff had voted in favour of a work-to-rule after Sheffield Council contractor Veolia failed to meet initial demands for a 3.5 per cent pay rise.
The GMB union, which represents the binmen, said members were angered Veolia was not offering an ‘acceptable rise’ when its annual payments from Sheffield Council increase each year in line with inflation.
But after talks with mediation service ACAS, Veolia made a revised offer of 2.5 per cent this year, backdated to January, and a further 2.5 per cent next year.
Staff voted to accept the offer in a ballot counted yesterday, with 77 per cent in favour and 23 per cent against.
Peter Davies, regional organiser for the GMB, said: “Our members feel that, in this day and age and given the pressure the council and its partners are under, this is a good deal.
“As part of the agreement, cleaners will also see their hourly rates increased to £7.45 in line with the council’s Living Wage policy, giving them a 12.5 per cent increase, and we have also secured improvements with bank holiday pay and arrangements.”
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “I am glad that the dispute has been resolved and that there has not been any inconvenience to the public. We are pleased that the GMB and Veolia have been able to reach an amicable agreement.”
The GMB had predicted that if a work-to-rule went ahead, thousands of residents could be left with their bins unemptied – because one third of collections rely on binmen being able to work overtime.
Sheffield Council is continuing negotiations with Veolia about reducing its annual payment for the waste and recycling contract, to avoid the dispute ending up in the High Court.
The council wants to cut its payments by £3.9 million.