Sheffield Easter waste strike pulled as dispute rumbles on

Previous strike action outside the Veolia recycling plant on Blackstock Road, Sheffield.
Previous strike action outside the Veolia recycling plant on Blackstock Road, Sheffield.
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A planned strike at Sheffield’s household waste sites has been called off – as union chiefs fear workers could face disciplinary action.

Staff working at the five sites were balloted and a one-hour strike on each day of the Easter weekend planned, followed by a period of working to rule, in a long-running dispute over pay, conditions and bullying allegations.

But now the union has received a letter from sub-contractor The Green Company saying information provided was ‘inaccurate’ and striking would be ‘unlawful’.

Martine Laffan-Butler, chairman, added in the letter: “This would once again place union members at risk of disciplinary action.”

The union will now conduct another ballot.

Peter Davies, regional organiser for union GMB, said he did not know what the ‘inaccuracies’ were as the same information had been provided as with previous notices of strikes.

He said he feared the company would ‘discipline and sack’ members if they took action.

Mr Davies added: “That is because they have an army of zero hours workers they have taken on.”

Earlier this year Sheffield Council said it ‘could no longer have confidence’ in The Green Company to operate sites on behalf of council contractor Veolia.

The Trade Union Council passed a motion at its conference calling on the authority to take action.

A Veolia spokesman said: “We are clearly disappointed these issues are not yet resolved and reassure residents we are continuing to encourage talks to restart to bring an end to the dispute.

“While we are pleased customers won’t be inconvenienced by strike action, it’s clear a resolution needs to be found.
“Although we hope an amenable end to the dispute will be agreed prior to any further potential strike action, we would expect GMB to follow the due and proper processes.”

The Green Company has not commented on the situation.