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Posted on 29 May 2012 at 21:30 GMT

Strike at Sheffield Dump It sites, photo Alistair Tice

Strike at Sheffield Dump It sites, photo Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Strike at Sheffield 'Dump It Sites'

Around 40 GMB members who work at the five recycling centres (Dump It Sites) in Sheffield took three days of strike action from Saturday to Monday, 26-28 May.

The strike is to protest against Labour council plans to drastically reduce the level of recycling service in the city and against proposed job losses and cuts in hours and pay.

The 500,000 'savings' are part of the council passing on 57 million of Con-Dem government cuts this year.

This is in addition to ending the free collection of green waste and planning to cut general waste collections to fortnightly.

As a result of these cuts, Sheffield, which boasts being the greenest city in the country, will face an increase in litter, fly-tipping and waste dumping.

Waste services (bins, incinerator and recycling) were privatised 10 years ago under a previous Lib Dem administration and are now run by Veolia for the council.

However, to make even more profit, Veolia have now sub-contracted the recycling centres to SOVA Recycling Ltd, a supposed 'charity'.

Workers were TUPE-ed across in January this year. But the the workers' trade union, GMB, has found out that SOVA's original contract bid was 1 million but they were 'advised' to cut their bid to 600,000.

However Veolia has still received 941,000 from the council, hence pocketing over 300,000 in the process.

Notice about recycling sites in Sheffield, photo by Alistair Tice

Notice about recycling sites in Sheffield, photo by Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

The GMB also calculates that the private operators 'make' a further 900,000 a year from selling on recycled materials.

But it's the workers and the public that are being made to pay the price for these cuts and blatant profiteering.

Despite the strike slightly shifting the council/Veolia/SOVA position, seven workers still face redundancy with all facing cuts in hours, bonuses and pay.

Whilst one of the five recycling centres would now stay open seven days a week, the other four will face weekday closures and all will have reduced opening hours.

With these cuts due to be implemented from 4 June, the workers will take further prolonged strike action from this coming weekend if the plans are not dropped.

Sheffield Socialist Party members were welcomed on picket lines at the Dump It Sites on Blackstock Road and in Shireciffe.

We had already started our own petition against these cuts and have now approached the two Green Party councillors to put an urgent motion to the next council meeting opposing these plans.

Alistair Tice, Sheffield Socialist Party

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