by Tim Lezard GMB members employed by the Green Company in Sheffield are today beginning continuous strike action in a dispute over pay and facilities. The Green Company is owned by the charity Salvaire. The dispute is over failure to secure an agreeme …

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Green Recycling Sheffieldby Tim Lezard

GMB members employed by the Green Company in Sheffield are today beginning continuous strike action in a dispute over pay and facilities.

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 with Veolia and Sheffield City Council 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. GMB reps and all members have also been issued with disciplinary letters after previous strikes action.

GMB regional officer Peter Davies 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 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 Greens, to Councillor Jack Scott and to Veolia. To date no one seems to want to answer these questions.

“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 end to the bullying.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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