As strike begins, rubbish piles up in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 09 Nov 2009 at 8:45 am

As the first day of all out action by Brighton and Hove binmen begins, rubbish is already overflowing onto the streets of the city.

An overflowing bin in Kemp Town. Picture by Phil Gardner

An overflowing bin in Kemp Town. Picture by Phil Gardner

The streetcleaners are taking action Brighton and Hove City Council’s plans to slash their wages by up to £8,000 to bring them into line with other workers deemed to have similar skills.

On Friday, the BBC reported that the council had improved its offer to the GMB union, which represents the workers.

But the union said by this point it was too late to call off the all out-strike, which follows days of work to rule from Thursday last week.

The council told the BBC: “The council has comprehensive plans to deal with any ongoing disruption to waste services and we would implement those should it become necessary.

“We would also keep residents informed about how the council would deal with any serious disruption.”

Phil Gardner, who took this picture, said on his blog that walking through Kemp Town yesterday was like taking a trip back down memory lane to the Winter of Discontent.

He said: “At various points during our journey I had to wheel Am’s buggy into the road because the bags, bin liners and bird-bitten black sacks were piled three high across the pavement at every communal bin site we passed.”

The GMB, which is representing workers from the council’s CityClean department, has the backing of Unison and the city’s opposition Labour party.

Unison activist Andy Richards warned on his blog that more council staff would be affected by the council’s proposals to bring wages into line with each other.

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