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Posted on 3 September 2012 at 12:04 GMT

Sheffield recycling workers strike again

Despite last minute attempts by Sova management to bully Sheffield's recycling workers into calling off their industrial action, the weekend's strike went ahead as planned.

Bosses did make further concessions in talks on Friday 31st August but Sova's manager scuttling around the sites with the "offer" demanding a written answer there and then only hardened the GMB members' determination to resume strike action after two months of 'talks' going nowhere.

The 30-odd tip workers at Sheffield's five Dump-it sites took 28 days of strike action earlier in summer against council cuts which drastically reduce opening hours and therefore working hours and pay.

Their indefinite strike won the reinstatement of three compulsorily dismissed colleagues and the promise of "serious" negotiations over bonuses and increasing hours.

But the Labour council and Veolia and Sova, the private operators and subcontractors, have just stalled for the last eight weeks, so workers voted to strike again during every weekend in September before reduced winter hours kick in.

'Offer'

In a bid to avert the strike, management offered a three and a half hour a week increase in annualised working hours but this still leaves workers well short of what they were working and earning before the cuts were implemented in April. On minimum wage plus 72p an hour bonus, most workers cannot afford to work.

But the money is there. Recycling makes money for the private contractors - the GMB estimates an extra 1.5 million a year from the selling on of recyclable materials.

And the council is withholding another 1.5 million in fines that they should be levying on Veolia and Sova for failure to recycle on every strike day.

Once again Socialist Party members supported the picket lines and will rally support for Sova workers fighting council cuts and the privatisation of public services.

Please send messages of support (email: peter.davies@gmb.org.uk) and especially financial donations to: Peter Davies (Sova Strike Fund), GMB office, 188/190 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1SY. Please make cheques payable to GMB.

Alistair Tice

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