Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Council could end waste contract 20 years early

Bin in a street in Sheffield
Image caption Sheffield City Council said 180 jobs would be at risk if the Veolia contract is terminated

A council could end its contract with a waste firm 20 years early because it is no longer "meeting its needs".

Sheffield City Council said 180 jobs would be at risk if the Veolia deal is terminated, but affected workers would be consulted on any changes.

The waste firm has been collecting and disposing the city's waste since 2001, with the contract due to expire in 2036.

The GMB union said it was a "negotiating tactic" by the council.

Veolia runs the Bernard Road incinerator, recycling centres, Sheffield's district heating network, and deals with bulky items and abandoned vehicles.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, said: "Our contract is no longer meeting our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape in which the government is forcing us to operate."

He said crucial savings targets set out in the council's 2016 budget "have not been achieved in the existing contract".

Veolia employees have taken part in several strikes over the past few years, sparked by pay disputes, complaints of "aggressive" tactics by management, and 96 gross misconduct cases in a year.

The firm has not yet commented.

Pete Davies from the GMB said: "We are somewhat sceptical whenever the council make these announcements. We have written to all workers and the council leader and set out our position with regard to the latest announcement.

"We suspect this is all a negotiation tactic with Veolia but we will make sure our members' jobs and terms and conditions are not attacked as part of this process and will challenge that accordingly, if need be."

The council said if the contract is ended early it will try to keep waste services running smoothly.

A decision will be made at a council cabinet meeting on 18 January.

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