Brighton and Hove bin strike prompts Greens to talk about replacing their council leader

Posted On 09 May 2013 at 10:14 am

Binmen and street cleaners in Brighton and Hove are on strike for a second day today (Thursday 9 May).

The walkout was prompted by proposed changes to pay and conditions which those on unofficial strike say could cost some workers up to £4,000 a year.

The dispute has also prompted Green councillors and supporters to talk openly about whether the party should replace Jason Kitcat as leader.

Councillor Kitcat is also the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

The Brighton and Hove Green Party held an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday evening (7 May).

Members voted to ask councillors to take control over the pay talks which were delegated to unelected officials at a meeting in January.

One Green supporter, Duncan Roy, said on his Scrapper Duncan blog: “The complexity of the pay structures has arisen because of the way Brighton and Hove City Council came into being.

“Essentially, two local authorities with differing pay structures merged but left the already complicated salary arrangements intact. No one disputes that.

“The dispute is about whether this should be sorted out by elected, accountable politicians or by officers who don’t have to face political consequences for their actions.

“Since Mr Kitcat’s administration has chosen let the technocrats take over, we Greens find ourselves in the absurd position of being in the same party as an administration which plans to cut the pay of the lowest paid workers.

“This is intolerable. Plans are afoot to remove Jason Kitcat as council leader.

“A rebellion is being planned among those Green councillors who wish to remain loyal to their party’s clear policy.”

He has also suggested that a move may be made to try to expel Councillor Kitcat from the party.

Councillor Alex Phillips said on Twitter that if she were Councillor Kitcat she would resign for having misled the Green group of councillors about the process for producing the pay proposals.

Striking workers said that Councillor Mike Jones had promised to resign from the Greens if the pay cuts went through.

Councillor Jones visited the strikers at the council’s Hollingdean depot this morning (Thursday 9 May) with the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas.

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Unless Duncan Roy is prepared to stand for election and to face the public’s judgment of whether or not he is someone who should be representing them as a councillor, I think he is out of order in behaving as though he has the rank and role of a councillor who is part of the Administration. He is not.

    He is a rabble rouser who I personally think undermines the Green Party when he gets a bee in his bonnet. Once again the Greens are seen to be scrapping in public and behaving like hot head kids. It’s too bad.

    But yes, there are Hove/Brighton differences which the officers have spent a decade trying to ‘harmonise’. Resident caretakers on council estates were abolished during one such ‘harmonisation’ exercise. That is the core issue. And Hove employees have/had more generous terms and packages that its Brighton controllers wish to do away with.

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Duncan Roy ‘mispeaks’. It is not Kitcat who is letting the ‘technocrats take over’. The council officers have spent the entire time since Hove and Brighton were merged into a unitary authority slowly but surely ‘harmonising’ away all the Hove employees historic advantages over their Brighton colleagues contract terms. It is an historic job of delegation and nothing new put in place by Kitcat.

  3. Uncle Protein Reply

    Ah yes, Green councillor Alex Phillips, who wanted to desert her constituents to go to Africa for three months as part of her teacher training course (she claimed in the Argus that it was “vital for her spiritual progression” that she take this sabbatical in Africa.

    I think Ms. Phillips is the last person to lecture on the responsibilities of being a member of the Green council!

    Although I am absolutely no fan of the Greens, I have met Mr. Kitcat a number of times and have found him to be a pleasant chap, who seems to care about Brighton and its residents.

  4. The Grail Reply

    The sooner Kitkat goes the better – he seems to be more interested in furthering his own career as a politician, more worried about global and country wide issues than the Brighton & Hove; and promoting green policies irrespective of the value rather than helping the residents of this once great City.

    We now have litter blowing all over Western Road due to him not wanting to get involved in Hollingdean; 20 mph zones where no one takes any notice; cycles lanes that no one uses; solar powered railways with 250 year payback on investment; green outlines of drones painted on roads; and the council seeming more worrying about making transsexuals happier by having Mr instead of Mr or Mrs or Ms!

    Please can we have a green leader with more sense than political ambition – this is Brighton and Hove the City – we need councillors that worry about the ratepayers and the city rather than just being ideological figure heads twittering to the masses and spending all their time getting their photos in papers.

  5. Peter Reply

    If this doesn’t get the Greens kicked-out at the next election, then nothing will.

    The people of Brighton and Hove deserve better than the incompetance of the Greens, and their concomitant mal-administration of the city

  6. Pingback: Support Brighton Council Workers (watch the video)

  7. Jason Reply

    My hard earned money is spent on nonsensical schemes where the greens:
    1. Make it harder to recycle and disrupt refuse collection
    2. Spend millions on a farcical non enforceable 20mph speed limit that is actually
    A. More dangerous as it creates traffic frustration
    B. means that cars spend more time on the roads thus more emissions
    C. Damages tourism and money so desperately needed by Brighton and hove (if I see another boarded up store I will cry!)
    3. Put up parking fees that are more expensive than London , again damaging tourism
    4. Create a massive issue about cutting a f*****g elm tree down in seven dials, how very green, due to a small difference in pavement measurements
    Are these guys for real? I so wanted the, to begin and take an opportunity to show the country what they can do however they are a laughing stock and it embarrasses me that I even supported them

    Jog on !

  8. Suzi Bateman Reply

    Why don’t the workers’ question their union leaders before taking action – The GMB union leader earns 112K pounds p.a. plus substantial benefits which can nearly double that figure.
    It’s appalling the mainly men bleeding the country dry in their ivory towers union leaders, bankers, heads of companies etc whilst us mere mortals live on coupons for the food banks.
    Hit the fat cats in all shapes and lets start with the unions as we have tried the bank bosses who have us over a barrel.
    Don’t be a lemming leave your unions and see how much money that gives you back in you apy packet and it will change the face of politics in Britain

  9. Arthur Scargill Reply

    Lets get off the backs of the greens they may be naïve but lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater I’d rather have them than the tories which is what we will have if we’re not careful.

    Support the workers ultimately they are fighting for us all.

    If they loose who will be next to see a pay cut? it could be you. Lets all remember the real enemies of this country those who don’t pay their taxes (big and small) they are robbing all of us. If these selfish people paid their dues there would be no need to clobber good honest people with massive pay cuts……..

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