Sheffield Recycling Dispute Back On

29 Nov 2012

The deal due to start at the end of October was delayed until this November but when GMB met with SOVA on Monday they could not confirm any implementation date so the deal agreed at ACAS was just another false promise says GMB.
GMB members employed by Sova at 5 household waste recycling centres (HWRC) in Sheffield have agreed to go back on indefinite all out strike action to commence on 22nd December 2012 over the failure to implement the agreement arrived at the end of October to end the long running dispute including several periods of strike action.
Peter Davies, GMB Regional officer, said “GMB agreed through ACAS in early October to settle the HWRC dispute in Sheffield because SOVA had secured more work from Veolia, this mitigated our winter reduction in hours which was the main issue of dispute. The new work was to involve the recycling of bulky waste.
The new winter hours were to start at the end of October. The Council, Veolia and SOVA delayed this until November due to a delay in the method statements but it soon became clear that we wouldn’t even get the hours this year. We met with SOVA on Monday and they could not confirm an implementation date.
On top of this we have seen little or no improvements in welfare facilities (inadequate wash off facilities and no wash off time) and there is a requirement to remain behind after hours if members of the public are on site with no guarantee of payment.
SOVA, the national charity, has bailed out of any ownership of the contract but their trustees have set up a new charity to take ownership of the recycling arm which employs our members. I suppose they think this will protect them against any potential fines/penalties that are built up for failing to deliver on the contract. There are already hundreds of thousands of pounds owed for these failures to the Council. In short we are in a mess and the members believe that what was agreed through ACAS was just another false promise.
Whilst the key decision makers ponder and play politics with this service and our members livelihoods it is GMB members and their families who will continue to suffer hardship.
GMB members have had enough and they have decided to call an all out, indefinite strike, to commence on December 22nd. That is not a threat it is simply a reflection of their desperation.
I can only hope that the Council, Veolia and SOVA (or whoever employs our members these days) get focused, get serious, get back round the negotiating table and come up with a proper resolution to this dispute that is not built on assumptions and false promises.”