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New Sheffield Waste Strike Ballot

Friday, January 15, 2016

GMB Respond With New Strike Ballot For Sheffield Waste Workers After Worker Is Sacked For Speaking Out On Local Bbc Show

We will defend our members and continue fight with this company until we get justice, a safe working environment and our sacked members back to work says GMB.

Martin Lyons a GMB member working for Green Co in Sheffield, the household waste Recycling Sub Contractors to Veolia, was sacked yesterday (14th January) for asking the Council Leader, Julie Dore, a question on a local BBC radio phone in just before Christmas about the long running dispute on the contract. GMB has responded by announcing a new ballot for industrial action. See notes to editors for copies of previous GMB press releases on the dispute.

Peter Davies, GMB Organiser in Sheffield said “Martin Lyons has, along with his colleagues, been involved in a long running industrial action campaign in Sheffield at Green Co over bullying, pay and health and safety.

The dispute began in November 2014 and since then the entire management team, the trade union reps and others have been sacked for challenging charity trustees and Directors who run the company. A work to rule continues and strikes were suspended last year when the Council, who fund the contract, promised to intervene. Strikes have been threatened again this year due to the lack of progress and Martin rang the show to ask the leader what the Council were doing about this and when did she think it would be sorted.

The company responded by disciplining Martin for, allegedly, bringing the company into disrepute. They threw the kitchen sink in too and claimed that Martin, not they, was responsible for health and safety breaches. It's a very rotten, but old, trick and it's pretty clear why they have sacked him. Martin said nothing that he and others have not said for well over a year and the dispute is well known. Julie Dore berated the company on air, and rightly so, but it is clear to me who is responsible for damaging the company and its the set of bullies now running the operation.


Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, elect added 'a fresh ballot will commence today for strike action and we will defend our members to the hilt and continue in our fight with this company until we get justice, a safe working environment and our sacked members back to work'.

Contact: Peter Davies GMB Organiser on 07501 228 313 or 01924 882255 or 0845 337 7777 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copies of previous GMB press releases:

1 Copy of GMB press release dated 23rd December 2015

GMB To Ballot Members For Further Action In Long Running Dispute In Sheffield On Veolia And Council Recycling Sites

This dispute has been on-going since November 2014 and centres on pay, bullying and health and safety says GMB

GMB is to ballot members employed by the Green Company running five recycling centres as a subcontractor to Veolia for Sheffield City Council in a long running dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed. See notes to editors for copies of previous GMB press release on the dispute since October 2014.

Pete Davies, GMB organiser in Sheffield, said ‘The Green Co dispute in Sheffield rumbles on. This dispute has been on-going since November 2014 and centres on pay, bullying and health and safety.

The two sacked GMB reps and their families, Jim Rodgers and Gordon Parkes, face their second Xmas out of work. More victims of this companies bullying are losing or face losing their jobs.

On a BBC local radio show (The Hot seat) on Friday, 11th December, Julie Dore (Sheffield Council leader) was the guest taking questions from the public. A Green Co employee phoned in and reminded Julie, and the public, that another strike notice had been put in for the Xmas period. The worker asked what the Council leader could do to help on this publically funded contract and the on-going dispute. This worker has now been summoned to a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct and all employees have been threatened with the sack if they go on strike.

We have no choice as we have had to protect our members and pull the strike action. We will re-ballot in the New Year and fight tooth and nail to save the jobs of the latest victims of this awful companies bullying.

A GMB member at Veolia has now also been sacked. As far as we can see this is for the health and safety mess that Green Co has created on the sites he checks. No senior managers have been held responsible, of course.

GMB expect an announcement soon from the council and continue to work with them to try to intervene in this long running trade union fight on Sheffield’s public Household Waste Recycle Centres.”

End

2 Copy of GMB press release dated 16th July 2015

GMB Rally To Support Green Co Workers In Sheffield On Saturday18th July

Dispute over bullying, pay and welfare facilities of members at Green Co started a year ago so event marks one year of this dispute which is still not resolved says GMB

GMB is organizing a rally in Sheffield on Saturday July 18th to mark one year of the dispute involving the Green Co recycling workers. This is supported by the regional TUC. See notes to editors for copy of one of the GMB press releases issued during the dispute.

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 details of the rally are as follows:

Between 12 noon— 2pm, Saturday 18th July,

Blackstock Green Co,

(outside the Horse and Groom pub)

Sheffield S14 1JE

The speakers are: Louise Haigh MP, Sheffield Heeley Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary Peter Davies, GMB Organiser Sheffield Michael Hinchliffe, GMB Veolia, Branch Secretary Martyn Mayer (Sheffield TUC & Unite) Jim Rodgers (One of the sacked Green Co GMB reps) Andy Whitehead (Whistle Blower & sacked Green Co Operations Manager) Unison speaker, to be confirmed.There will be refreshments available after the rally.

The demands of the rally are as follows:

  • Reinstatement of the sacked reps.
  • Reinstatement of the sacked managers who blew the whistle and challenged bad practices from the outset.
  • The living wage, our stolen bonus and allowances back.
  • An end to bullying.
  • Zero hours contracts to be ended.
  • Decent welfare facilities.
  • A service run for Sheffield and not for personal gain.

Peter Davies, GMB Organiser in Sheffield, said “The bullying of our members at Green Co started a year ago triggering this dispute. The event marks one year since this dispute over bullying, pay and welfare facilities began.

We suspended strike action last December to give Sheffield City Council and Veolia an opportunity to intervene. Since the dispute began the entire senior management team that used to run Green Co have been sacked along with the GMB reps. An Independent investigations into the many issues of dispute is still underway and is expected to conclude in the coming days and weeks.

At Easter our members attempted to go on strike again, frustrated with the length of time it is taking to get any sort of intervention into the way this awful company operates in Sheffield. Despite this legitimate and fully lawful industrial action notice however, the company wrote to every GMB member and threatened them with the sack if they went ahead.

Companies like Green Co have no regard for the rights of our members to exercise their lawful right to withdraw their labour, to stand up for themselves or disagree with their employer in any way. They have taken on an army of workers on zero hours contracts to undermine this dispute but would, never the less, not hesitate to sack our members if they exercised their right to strike'.

GMB have had no choice in the face of this aggression from the Green Co but to withdraw their threat to strike and instead have committed to running a series of rally's covering all Green Co sites across the City. Political and public pressure is building for this TUC backed campaign and hopefully this rally, to mark one year since this fight for justice, fairness, decent welfare facilities, a living wage and an end to bullying began, may well be the last. 

End

3 Copy of GMB press release of 7th October 2014 during the dispute

GMB FURTHER FOUR DAY STRIKE ON 10TH TO 13TH OCT AT SHEFFIELD RECYCLING CENTRES IN DISPUTE ON PAY, FACILITIES AND WAY CENTRES ARE MANAGED

GMB members want a fair share of the money allocated for 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, are taking further four days of strike action in a dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed. They will be on strike on Friday 10th, Saturday 11th, Sunday 12th and Monday 13th October. This follows strike action on Wednesday 1st October and Monday 6th October.

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 failure to secure an agreement on premium pay for weekend and overtime working, on welfare facilities and about the behaviour of the senior managers on the contract. GMB secured a living wage for members in the recycling centres from the out-going senior management team effective from April 2014.

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

The charity Salvaire has four trustees including their chair Martine Laffan-Butler who is also chair of the company board. GMB is now aware of internal disputes which led to the departure of entire senior management team leaving Martine Laffan-Butler to take over.  The entire 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. Questions have been asked as to whether value for money is being achieved for this money.

GMB members are striking for a fair share of the money allocated for this vital service. That plus a decent toilet in the winter, somewhere to have a wash and a bit of honesty isn't a lot to ask for.” 

End

 

 

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