Recycling strike proceeds as more bin jobs at risk in Sheffield

Pictured (left to right - Chief Inspector Iain Chorlton from South Yorkshire Police; Mike Notman, Amey Director; Cllr Jack Scott, Cabinet member for Environment, Waste and Streetscene and Steve Robinson, Sheffield City Council's Head of Highway Maintance, with one of the hi-tech street light heads which will illuminate the city as part of the works.
Pictured (left to right - Chief Inspector Iain Chorlton from South Yorkshire Police; Mike Notman, Amey Director; Cllr Jack Scott, Cabinet member for Environment, Waste and Streetscene and Steve Robinson, Sheffield City Council's Head of Highway Maintance, with one of the hi-tech street light heads which will illuminate the city as part of the works.

FIFTEEN more binmen could be axed on top of the 25 taking voluntary redundancy due to the introduction of fortnightly bin collections, The Star can reveal.

Loss of the additional posts would not count as redundancy because the workers are on short-term contracts due to come to an end in the autumn.

Meanwhile, a two-day strike at household waste recycling centres is to go ahead tomorrow and Sunday, after talks between the GMB trade union and contractors Sova and Veolia failed to reach agreement over pay.

Contractor Veolia says three of the five recycling centre sites will be kept open this weekend despite the walkout.

News that binmen may not have short term contracts renewed comes after the council boasted of being the only authority in the country not to make compulsory redundancies by switching from weekly to fortnightly household rubbish collections.

One binman, who did not wish to be named, said: “The council has been totally misleading.

“It is still likely men will lose their jobs who do not want to go. A number of families are now worried about their futures.”

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment and recycling, admitted: “There will be no compulsory redundancies. There are, however, a number of staff on temporary contracts to help the transition from the old system. No decision has been made on their future.”

He added: “We have worked with the employers at the sites, SOVA Recycling and Veolia Environmental Services, and are continuing to try to find a solution to this. We have made a number of improvements to the service over the last few months that we thought would help to resolve this problem.

“However, the basic problem is Sheffield is facing massive government cuts. Of course, if there was an alternative, we would take it, but the reality is this is the consequence. I am very sorry for the inconvenience this strike will cause.”

A Veolia spokeswoman said: “While some contracts are due to end in October, no compulsory redundancies are taking place.

“Additional resource has been required over the summer to cover holidays, as has been the case in previous years. We are very disappointed staff have decided on industrial action again.”

Talks to try to avert the strikes were held yesterday afternoon.

Workers say reductions in recycling centre opening hours will see them lose up to £7,000 a year in wages.

A pay deal has been offered to the staff, who run Deepcar, Gleadless Valley, High Green, Shirecliffe and Woodhouse recycling centres. But angry staff say the extra money will not make up for the amount lost.

A limited number of sites will be open 10am-6pm during the strikes, at Beighton Road, Woodhouse; Greaves Lane, High Green; and Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe.