Brighton and Hove binmen accept revised deal

Posted On 23 Jul 2013 at 5:16 pm

Binmen and street cleaners in Brighton and Hove have accepted a revised deal which is expected to lift the threat of any further strikes or industrial action.

The GMB and Brighton and Hove City Council said today (Tuesday 23 July) that an agreement had been reached.

The deal includes changes to working patterns which, the council said, “will benefit residents and significantly reduce or eliminate the losses staff would have suffered under previous proposals”.

The council said: “We are in the final weeks of the consultation with all staff on proposals to introduce a consistent, fair, affordable and open system of allowances for staff across the council.

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“The allowances system for the whole council will be published once the consultation is concluded.”

A formal agreement is expected to be signed by Monday 12 August.

Among the changes for binmen and street cleaners employed at the council’s Cityclean depot in Hollingdean are

  • Bank holiday collections – rubbish and recycling crews will work bank holidays with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. This will help to improve the service during busy periods. Other than during the festive period, collection dates shouldn’t change after a bank holiday.
  • A longer day – street sweepers will have work different shift times to try to keep Brighton and Hove’s streets cleaner. The proposals include more work at peak times. In the city centre staff will start work from 5am instead of 6am. They will still finish at 10pm.
  • Revised routes for rounds – changes to the routes of rubbish and recycling rounds will start in October and be introduced throughout Brighton and Hove over the following few months. The council hopes that the changes will lead to savings to reinvest in service improvements.

Mark Turner, the GMB branch secretary, said: “Our members have accepted the current proposal subject to the agreement being signed by 12 August. Then they will formally end industrial action.

“Ninety-five per cent of our members will see no cut to their pay. Five per cent will see some loss to their pay but it is significantly less.

“It’s a shame that we got to this position. We didn’t need to get to this position.”

He said that the areas of disagreement were flagged up late last year.

Initially almost all of the GMB’s members at Cityclean – more than 270 staff – were expected to suffer a cut in pay.

When the current consultation started, they walked out on an unofficial strike before holding an official strike for five days.

Mr Turner said that when his members went back to work they agreed to return the service to normal within seven days and had done so.

Executive director and acting chief executive of the council Denise D’Souza said: “This is really good news for the city.

“The proposal which has been agreed by GMB members at Cityclean shows we have made some very significant progress.

“We are in the final weeks of the consultation period which began in May and we are continuing to work with both our trade unions towards an allowances system for all staff across the council which is fair, open and affordable.”

 

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