Rubbish piles high in Brighton as union and council in battle over working conditions

Rubbish in Brighton piles high

Bins are overflowing with rubbish in Brighton as a strike by refuse workers enters its second week.

The fortnight walkout ends on Sunday with a second due to start days later in a row over working conditions.A number of meetings have been taking place between senior council staff, councillors and the GMB union.

Last night, the council put forward a revised offer in the hope it would bring the strike action to an end. However, union bosses in Brighton say they've had no formal communication with the council.

  • Video report by ITV Meridian report Andy Dickenson

GMB balloted HGV drivers last month about whether to take strike action because of “… failures to follow Council policy’s (sic) and procedures regarding HGV holding drivers, and resulting unilateral decision making around variations of duties, crew changes, planning for collecting of dropped work, and the accumulating resultant effect and toll on Driver's health and wellbeing and associated issues within the refuse, recycling, com-bins and trades waste.”

Talks were unable to avert a strike.

  • Conservative councillor Joe Miller said in a council meeting "you can't negotiate with terrorists" - a comment he later withdrew, saying he perceived the union's actions to be unreasonable. 

  • Gary Palmer, from the GMB Union

On 5 October, the first day of the strike, a series of new management measures was submitted as a formal resolution proposal to GMB which was then discussed at length on Wednesday.

 During those negotiations, GMB raised an additional issue about pay for all Cityclean operational staff.

If agreement cannot be reached, all resolution options including the resolution proposal from the GMB will now be tabled in a report to go to a P&R Urgency Sub-Committee meeting to be decided on by councillors.