Sheffield City Refuse Workers Meet To Discuss Changes

20 Sep 2010

GMB workers meet on Tuesday, 21st September 2010 at 7pm in the Farm Road Social Club as their employer, Veolia, had issued HR1 forms as part of plans to “consolidate the workforce under one company name” but since agreed to withdraw the HR1.

The row started when environmental company Veolia, which is contracted by Sheffield City Council to run their bin collections, issued HR1 forms to staff representatives. Union leaders say the forms means Veolia is now legally able to force through job cuts or changes to terms and conditions after a set notice period of three months.

Justin Bowden, a GMB national officer, said Veolia was “holding a gun to the heads” of its members by issuing the letters and notices. He also claimed the union had evidence Veolia plans to cut jobs by 30 per cent in Sheffield. He added union leaders want to sit down with managers over the next few days to avoid a winter of discontent. But he warned the GMB will ballot members for strike action if the meetings with the company over threatened cuts in staff and pay fail to get the proposals stopped. Veolia denies wanting to lay off any staff, insisting instead that it wants to change the company’s name.

A Veolia spokesman said: “As required by law we have issued an HR1 form to some municipal employees in our regional PFI contracts as we would like to consolidate our workforce under one company name. As such they would be employed by Veolia ES (UK) Limited – the main operating company for the Group in the UK – and not the regional contracts, which we already wholly own. This is a statutory requirement. We have no intention of making municipal employees redundant, dismiss them or re-engage them on lesser terms and conditions.”

Tommy Oxley, who represents around 250 GMB members who work for Veolia in Sheffield, said he was as yet unaware of how the situation would affect his members locally. He added: “We plan to hold a mass meeting at Farm Road club at 7pm on Tuesday when the matter will be discussed. We won’t be making any hasty decisions until we are fully aware of how this will affect us in Sheffield.”