Strike plan to ‘extend holiday’

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RECYCLING centre workers in Sheffield are striking ‘as a way of extending their Christmas holiday’, a source close to the dispute has claimed.

Workers at the five sites run by subcontractor SOVA on behalf of Sheffield Council and Veolia are beginning an indefinite walkout on December 22, because SOVA had delayed starting work on a second contract to recycle bulky goods, to mitigate council cuts to opening hours.

Peter Davies, GMB regional officer, said: “We met with SOVA on Monday and they could not confirm an implementation date.”

A council source said: “The start of the bulky waste contract has been delayed because the recycling centres are waiting for official permits to handle bulky waste. Another company is in talks with SOVA about a takeover – in which case the recycling centres contract would become invalid – and the GMB wants the staff brought back into Veolia.

“The strike is a way of speeding up the process of SOVA giving up the contract. Also, they get strike pay and one theory is that they are going on strike as a way of extending their Christmas holiday.”

Veolia said: “Talks are ongoing between SOVA and the GMB union aimed at preventing further industrial action.”