Sheffield waste recycling centres strike is called off

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HOUSEHOLD waste recycling plants in Sheffield are due to get back to normal after a deal was brokered yesterday (Wednesday) to end a long-running dispute.

One-day strikes that started six weeks ago turned into an indefinite strike over reduced opening hours and job losses, hitting the operation of the city’s five dump-it sites.

Long queues have built up at centres that have remained open, while some drivers have taken their rubbish to neighbouring authorities, only to be refused access.

Now new terms and conditions have been agreed for the workers with Sova Recycling, which runs the sites on behalf of the council and its waste management partner, Veolia.

Jack Scott, the council’s cabinet member for environment, waste and streetscene, said: “I am glad we have been able to work together to find a solution to this situation.

“Let’s be clear, if we hadn’t been hit with £55m of Government cuts we would never have been put in this position in the first place.”

Coun Scott said the agreement with the unions includes reviewing training and support to staff to raise skills and to “ensure productivity continues.

“We know there are other issues which still need to be addressed, but we are keeping all channels of communication open to resolve these as quickly as possible to avert any further action.”

Councillors were briefed on the situation at their monthly meeting yesterday when they received a 4,000-name petition in support of the recycling workers.

The GMB union said the strike by 23 workers had been suspended after the reinstatement of the jobs of all GMB members who had been made redundant.

A trial bonus scheme is being introduced, and opening hours have been agreed for the tips at Gleadless Valley, Shirecliffe, Beighton, Deepcar and High Green.

One of the spin-offs from the Sheffield strike was increased pressure on neighbouring recycling sites.

In Barnsley, users were being asked to show personal identification to confirm they live in the town.

l See Letters page 6