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Sheffield CC To Act On Abuses At Green Co Recycling Depots

Monday, February 2, 2015

GMB Calls On Sheffield City Council To Act On Abuses At Green Co Recycling Depots

Green Co is now deploying new zero hour contracted staff, disabled and vulnerable staff as well as unpaid staff, referred to them from the probation service on 'Community pay back hours' in an attempt to break this dispute says GMB.

GMB is calling on Sheffield City Council to act on abuses being brought to its attention by the union.

Green Co has been in dispute with GMB members for some time. See Note to Editors below for previous GMB press release on the dispute.

The Green Company is owned by the charity Salvaire. The dispute is over failure to secure an agreement on premium pay for weekend and overtime working, on welfare facilities and how the contract is managed. GMB secured a living wage for members in the recycling centres from the out-going senior management team effective from April 2014.

All of those managers have since been dismissed or have had to leave the company. The Finance Director and Operations Manager have already been dismissed and a HR manager and others have also left after raising concerns over bullying. GMB reps have been sacked and other members have also been issued with disciplinary letters after a previous, unofficial, walk out over the bullying of a disabled worker.

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.

Peter Davies, GMB Organiser said, “Clearly Green Co has found even more ways of abusing the use of Zero hours contracts. This entire contract requires no more than 34 staff to staff the sites. By GMB’s estimates they have 50+ and the way things are going, those on Zero hours contracts will soon outnumber employees on proper terms and conditions.  This is typical of this employer that it is hell bent on delivering this service as cheaply as possible to maximise their own profits. It's certainly not about enhancing or extending the service, far from it.

Green Co is now also deploying unpaid staff, referred to them from the probation service on 'Community pay back hours' in an attempt to break this dispute. We have a number of members who are disabled and classed as vulnerable adults working on this contract, in January at least two were made to work, unsupervised with probation work placement's all day."  

Jim Rodgers, one of the sacked GMB reps said, “We have nothing against these guys on probation, we have helped them in the past but this is no more than chain gang mentality that is driving this company now. Green Co Directors are getting a small fortune on this contract with 35% of the entire budget going on management. What they do isn't rocket science and it's about time the public were aware of just what they are paying for.”

End

Contact: Peter Davies on 07501 228313 or GMB press Office 07974 251 823

Notes to Editors:

Previous GMB press release on the dispute:

Continuous Strike Action At Sheffield Recycling
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GMB Changes Date For Continuous Strike To 1st November At Sheffield Recycling Centres In Dispute On Pay, Facilities And Bullying

GMB members being bullied by managers want a fair share of cash in 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, have reissued notice that they will take continuous strike action from 1st November in a dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed.
Continuous strike was due to start on Wednesday 29th October. This follows 9 days of strike action that commenced on 1st October.The recent strikes took place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October. Note GMB have had to reissue the notice for continuous strike action to commence on Saturday 1st November instead of Wednesday 30th. This is because a challenge by the company was launched because 2 sacked workers jobs were left on the notice.

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

All of those managers have since been dismissed or have had to leave the company. The Finance Director and Operations Manager have already been dismissed and a HR manager and others have also left after raising concerns over bullying. GMB reps and all members have also been issued with disciplinary letters after a previous, unofficial, walk out over the bullying of a disabled worker last week.

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

The charity Salvaire has four trustees including their chair Martine Laffan-Butler who is also chair of the company board. GMB has, for some time, been aware of internal board room disputes which led to the departure of the entire senior management team leaving Martine Laffan-Butler to take over. The 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.

If there is enough money around for the Chair of the charity, directors, non-executive directors and still loads left over to gift to charities not in Sheffield then where is the premium rate, toilets and showers? And why on earth are centres ever closed?

Questions have been asked as to whether value for money is being achieved on this publicly funded contract.

GMB have put questions to the charity that owns Green Co, to Councillor Jack Scott and to Veolia. To date no one seems to want to answer these questions but the council, at least, are deeply concerned.

The bullying is growing as is the list of employees sacked or feeling the need to have to leave. Now attention has turned to those who have chosen to make a stand. As with all bullies the senior managers are picking on those who they see as the easiest targets. Unfortunately for them they are our members.

GMB has a long tradition of ensuring that our members are not bullied or starved into submission. GMB members are striking for a fair share of the money allocated for this vital service and an end to the bullying”.
 

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