Brighton and Hove binmen back at work but union to hold strike ballot

Posted On 10 May 2013 at 6:11 pm

A strike ballot has been called by binmen and street cleaners in Brighton and Hove even though they ended their unofficial walkout this morning (Friday 10 May).

More than 200 staff took part in a two-day unofficial strike but the GMB union has started the process of calling for formal industrial action.

Thousands of people have rubbish piling up outside their homes, with the returning staff now working to rule.

Brighton and Hove City Council negotiating staff will resume talks with union officials next week in the hope of heading off further action.

The talks are about attempts by the council to adjust pay and allowances which will mean a cut in earnings for some staff.

Councillor Jason Kitcat faces striking binmen and street cleaning staff outside Brighton Town Hall

Councillor Jason Kitcat faces striking binmen and street cleaning staff outside Brighton Town Hall

The changes are intended to ensure that the council complies with equality laws and legal rulings.

But GMB organiser Mark Turner said: “We’re talking about people who will not be able to pay their mortgage or rent.”

He said that some staff would be as much as £4,000 a year worse off.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said that very few people would lose such a large sum. Most people would be better off under the changes, he said, but a number of people would face a cut of about £25 a week.

He said that he was aware what a big sum this was to those on lower wages and they were being offered compensation, adding: “Nothing’s being imposed.”

The dispute erupted when the council started a 90-day consultation with staff about the changes.

The GMB said: “The decision to ballot follows months of fruitless negotiation with council officers following a decision by the Green Party leader of the council, Jason Kitcat, to delegate responsibility for implementing the cuts to council officers.

“Official notice of the ballot will be received by the council next week and then an independent ballot will be undertaken by the Electoral Reform Society in the following weeks.

“If members vote in support of action then there could be a stoppage as early as next month.

GMB senior organiser Charles Harrity said: “GMB members at City Clean have said enough is enough.

“They cannot and will not accept these vicious cuts to their take-home pay.

“It is now abundantly clear that the Green Party leader of the council, Jason Kitcat, is in an untenable position and that he has brought his party into disrepute.

“Thousands of people across the country have signed a petition against the cuts, including many Green Party members who say they are disgusted by Councillor Kitcat’s actions.

“They have been joined by the Green Party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, who says she will actively campaign against any cuts, and Green Party councillors, who are now calling for Kitcat to resign.

“While GMB does not take strike action lightly we now have no faith in Councillor Kitcat or his proposals.

“The workforce at City Clean are well used to such attacks and I have no doubt both that they will vote in favour of action and that they will be prepared to take it.”

The workers who walked out and their supporters have posted a video on YouTube of their protest outside Brighton Town Hall yesterday (Thursday 9 May).

  1. Peter Reply

    ““It is now abundantly clear that the Green Party leader of the council, Jason Kitcat, is in an untenable position and that he has brought his party into disrepute…”

    The Green Party have been disreputable long, long before this latest incident!

  2. Brighton Alan Reply

    This is what happens when those ideologically unfit to hold public office are given that opportunity by people who vote with their hearts rather than their heads. The refuse collection service in Brighton is massively overmanned – just take a walk down the seafront any morning to see the evidence – if privatised it would bring massive savings to we Council Tax payers and be more efficient. Perhaps we’d even get rid of the guy with the huge vacuum cleaner who works in the North Laine and spends all his time drinking coffee in the cafe’s there. Time for an urgent change in administration!

  3. LMOFBR Brighton Reply

    I think it’s fair to say that the GREEN PARTY has no real policy to save money for the public purse and have no strong commitment to make life easier for all.
    Time for them to go and vote in something Blue and New.

  4. LMOFBR Brighton Reply

    Time for the Green party to go

  5. Sylvia brighton Reply

    Green Party please go you are useless. How about getting a reduction on our taxes as we are clearing our own rubbish and still paying for this service

Leave a Reply

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.