Brighton council hopes to avid prolonged bin strike

COUNCILLORS are hoping to avoid a long period of strike action from refuse collectors with a hypothesizedv agreement.

Brighton and Hove City Council have been at loggerheads with the GMB union, whose refuse workers in the city voted unanimously for strike action over pay and working conditions.

While industrial action will take place as planned tomorrow (October 5), the council hopes to avoid the two weeks walk out initially planned by strikers with a hypothesizedv resolution agreement.

The agreement is set to be considered by representatives from the union tomorrow, with the aim of solving the argument and averting further strike action.

Speaking about the council’s proposals, Nick Hibberd, the council’s executive director for economy, ecosystem and culture said: “To provide the best service for the city and to sustain staff, there are occasions where it’s felt appropriate to make crew changes, or move a member of staff from one round or crew to another.

“Changes are requested to prioritise areas where rubbish and recycling has unfortunately built up due to unavoidable staff shortages, means break downs, or for performance reasons.

“We have listened to the concerns of staff about a number of these requests, and we have made a number of detailed proposals which we hope GMB and the HGV drivers will agree tomorrow.”

Cllr Hibberd went on to thank the union for their “willingness to meet and keep up constructive talks”, in addition as thanking Cityclean staff for their hard work.

He said that he understood the concerns of residents ahead of disruption to bin collections in the coming days, reiterating the council’s commitment to finding a positive solution for staff and the city as a whole.

“I hope we can reach agreement tomorrow and work towards achieving our shared vision of a city where we tackle waste and recycling together, continue collaboratively with Cityclean modernisation plans and provide the best service for residents,” he said.

GMB had called on the council to “stop burying their heads in the sand and take notice of the seriousness of the argument.”

Branch secretary Mark Turner claimed that the argument is of the council’s own making.

“They have been told time and time again about the service issues and unhealthy to our members health and well-being resulting around tinkering with well-established rounds and moving of HGV drivers outside of their own council formal procedures, however they ignored our members and workplace reps’ complaints allowing it to go on anyway,” he said.

Should the council and GMB fail to reach agreement, Brighton’s Cityclean, recycling, commercial waste and HGV drivers are set to go on strike for two weeks.

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