Indefinite strike by Sheffield Recycling workers starts Saturday 1 November

31 October 2014

Indefinite strike starts Saturday 1 November

From GMB

GMB members being bullied by managers want a fair share of cash in this vital service plus a decent toilet in the winter, somewhere to wash and a bit of honesty which isn’t a lot to ask for says GMB

GMB members employed by the Green Company, running five recycling centres as a subcontractor to Veolia for Sheffield City Council, have reissued notice that they will take continuous strike action from 1st November in a dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed.

Continuous strike was due to start on Wednesday 29th October. This follows 9 days of strike action that commenced on 1st October.The recent strikes took place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October.  Note GMB have had to reissue the notice for continuous strike action to commence on Saturday 1st November instead of Wednesday 30th. This is because a challenge by the company was launched because 2 sacked workers jobs were left on the notice.

The five recycling centres are located at Beighton Road, Woodhouse, S13 7PS, Blackstock Road, Gleadless, S14 1FY, Manchester Road, Deepcar, S36 2DT, Greaves Lane, High Green, S35 4GR, and Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe, S5 8WA.

The Green Company is owned by the charity Salvaire. The dispute is over failure to secure an agreement on premium pay for weekend and overtime working, on welfare facilities and how the contract is managed. GMB secured a living wage for members in the recycling centres from the out-going senior management team effective from April 2014.

All of those managers have since been dismissed or have had to leave the company. The Finance Director and Operations Manager have already been dismissed and a HR manager and others have also left after raising concerns over bullying. GMB reps and all members have also been issued with disciplinary letters after a previous, unofficial, walk out over the bullying of a disabled worker last week.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB members are taking strike action over premium rates, welfare facilities and bullying. We know the company can afford to provide these basic conditions but they will not budge.

The charity Salvaire has four trustees including their chair Martine Laffan-Butler who is also chair of the company board. GMB has, for some time, been aware of internal board room disputes which led to the departure of the entire senior management team leaving Martine Laffan-Butler to take over. The workforce is aware of everything that has come out of this internal board room wrangling.

There have been substantial sums paid to Martine Laffan-Butler and to another company, ‘Roughly Translated Ltd’ owned by Martine Laffan-Butler and her partner.

If there is enough money around for the Chair of the charity, directors, non-executive directors and still loads left over to gift to charities not in Sheffield then where is the premium rate, toilets and showers? And why on earth are centres ever closed?

Questions have been asked as to whether value for money is being achieved on this publicly funded contract.

GMB have put questions to the charity that owns Green Co, to Councillor Jack Scott and to Veolia. To date no one seems to want to answer these questions but the council, at least, are deeply concerned.

The bullying is growing as is the list of employees sacked or feeling the need to have to leave. Now attention has turned to those who have chosen to make a stand. As with all bullies the senior managers are picking on those who they see as the easiest targets. Unfortunately for them they are our members.

GMB has a long tradition of ensuring that our members are not bullied or starved into submission. GMB members are striking for a fair share of the money allocated for this vital service and an end to the bullying”.

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