Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/721/14628
Solid strikes show that Veolia privatisation is rubbish
Private waste management contractor Veolia have met with solid resistance in their attacks on workers' pay and conditions in Sheffield.
On 2 June workers walked out for four days of strikes over the bank holiday weekend, which will bring the total to seven days of stoppages over the last two weeks.
Veolia, contracted to manage recycling and bin collection in Sheffield by the city council, are carrying out £500,000 of 'savings' in order to maintain the profitability of the contract. This is because of cuts in the waste management budgets by the Labour-controlled council.
These savings will primarily come from slashing the opening hours of the five Dump It sites, and cutting pay, conditions and jobs.
The company earns £1.2 million from its council contract and selling unusable scrap, but its subcontractor SOVA makes a further £1.8 million by selling on its so-called 'recycling', totalling at least £3 million made from the people of Sheffield.
This is especially shocking considering that until recently Veolia's website claimed that all of their recycling proceeds went to charity!
The morale of the strikers was high in Shirecliffe, with the prospect of further strike action being seen as necessary and desirable - with management being forced to operate the Dump It centres themselves.
Veolia truck drivers are already refusing to cross picket lines so it is likely that a significant victory could be possible. Three further consecutive days of strike action have already been planned.
The Green Party, who hold two seats on the council, are planning to table a motion on 13 June demanding an end to the cutbacks in the waste management budget. Although this fails to see that the root cause of these attacks is privatisation, it is certainly a positive move.
The GMB union will coordinate a demonstration to coincide with the council meeting where recycling workers may be joined by bin workers, whose jobs and hours also face massive cuts following a planned move from weekly to fortnightly bin collections.
This will of course receive the full and vocal support of the Socialist Party in Sheffield.
In The Socialist 6 June 2012:
Fight the cuts!
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