I learnt that Sheffield refuse collectors employed by Veolia have not had a pay rise in three years and, as a result, they were considering strike action.
If they have not had a pay review in all that time I support them in this.
I know that at times the service is not ideal and we can find fault with aspects of their methods but refuse collection is hard, physical work and we should value it accordingly.
Just some information about Veolia may put their grievance in perspective:
n Veolia is a French multi-national company with interests in water services, waste management and transport.
n They employ 300,000 people in 77 countries. Veolia Environmental, who have the 30-year contract with Sheffield City Council, employ 85,600 people in 33 countries with revenue of 9 billion euros in 2009.
n They have a 50 per cent stake in Transder – a transport company which is currently losing money and which they are hoping to divest.
n They also have the contract to build the controversial light railway in East Jerusalem which has been condemned by a UN resolution as it carries Israel settlers into illegally occupied land.
As a result of the controversy over their involvement with the light railway Veolia has lost contracts both here in the UK and abroad.
So perhaps Veolia’s unwillingness to negotiate an increase in the pay of the bin men here in Sheffield is a response to a squeeze on their profits?
They see workers in Sheffield as a soft target as they attempt to protect their profit margin for shareholders.
Sue Morton, Fir Street, S6