Binmen have resumed their work to rule in the long-running pay dispute with Brighton and Hove City Council.
The council said: “Some of our refuse and recycling staff are taking industrial action at Cityclean.”
Cityclean is the council’s in-house team of street cleaners, binmen and recycling staff.
The GMB union reinstated the work-to-rule – or industrial action short of a strike – on Monday (19 January).
The union is unhappy with the outcome of a grading and pay review.
The council said: “We are extremely disappointed by this. The union has a right to appeal. This has not been pursued yet and the industrial action is likely to lead to further disruption to residents.
“We apologise to residents for any inconvenience.
“The industrial action concerns a grading and pay issue for refuse and recycling drivers.
“As part of a full service redesign, we undertook to review the job descriptions of drivers and to come back to the unions on that by the end of December.
“We went through detailed discussions with the GMB on the content of the proposed job description.”
A new description for the driver chargehand role was submitted to a job evaluation panel a week before Christmas.
The council said: “The job evaluation process has been used for all other posts within the council.
“The panel confirmed that the grade for the new job description was the same as the current grade.
“This means that the new duties are within the range of the current evaluation and the job evaluation panel decided that they are also in line with the duties expected of similarly graded posts across the council.”
The verdict dashed the drivers’ hopes of higher pay for their extra skills.
The council said: “Action short of a strike – work to rule – is designed to cause service disruption in which drivers work only in accordance with their terms of contract.
“It hinders the day-to-day organisation at Cityclean which could affect your rubbish and recycling collections.
“We’re collecting as much as we can on scheduled days but appreciate many residents have had their collections missed.
“Where possible we’re sending out extra crews prioritising the areas which have been missed the most.
“Again, we apologise for the ongoing disruption and are doing what we can to get the service back to normal.”
The council tried to head off a couple of questions that have come up during previous disputes with the binmen which have affected rubbish and recycling collections.
One of those is: “Why should I pay council tax if my rubbish and recycling is not being collected?”
The council said: “Council tax pays for a huge range of services, of which the refuse and recycling is a very small part.
“These services include libraries, roads, street lighting and children’s services, administration of benefits, maintenance of the parks and beaches, adult social care and, of course, contributions to the local police and fire service.
“Even though there has been disruption to collection, the law does not permit customers to withhold payment of their council tax because they are not happy with the service provided.
“Council tax is a statutory tax paying for a range of local services and facilities all year round, not only rubbish and recycling.”
Another common question is: “Can I get a refund, compensation or a rebate on my council tax?”
The council said: “Unfortunately, council tax legislation does not have any allowances for a rebate.
“There are no plans to offer any compensation to customers as we are hopeful that the problem will be resolved in the near future.”