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Sheffield recycling: 'We're out until the boss is out'
"We're going to stay on strike until we see Martine [Laffan-Butler, head of The Green Company] walking out of those gates." So say the Sheffield recycling workers on indefinite strike since 1 November.
Thirty GMB union members are striking for premium pay rates, welfare facilities, against management bullying and the way the privatised and sub-contracted council service is being run. They want Laffan-Butler out because of serious concerns about the misuse of public money and the sacking or forced resignation of the former senior management team who questioned this.
The strikers lobbied the city council meeting last week to pressure Labour to pull the contract from Green Company. In the town hall chamber they questioned Jack Scott, Labour's environmental services cabinet member. His reply was just flannel, which brought the retort from the public gallery of: "What a load of bollocks!"
Two of the five recycling sites are closed by the strike. The strikers picket the other three tips to disrupt commercial waste operations while gathering signatures of support from the public.
At the time of writing this report, GMB officials are having a meeting with the council leader and chief executive. The strikers hope for a breakthrough but insist they will not go back until Laffan-Butler goes.
Update since the above: Following high level talks between GMB and Sheffield council leader and chief executive, the strike has been suspended for two weeks.
In The Socialist 12 November 2014:
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