Brighton and Hove bin strikes still on the cards after union and council stalemate continues

Posted On 14 Feb 2015 at 12:25 pm

More Brighton and Hove bin strikes could follow after talks between the council and union bosses remain in deadlock.

Council chief executive Penny Thompson and GMB Sussex branch secretary Mark Turner meet earlier this week

Council chief executive Penny Thompson and GMB Sussex branch secretary Mark Turner meet earlier this week

Bin lorry drivers who are members of the GMB union are continuing to work to rule after no agreement was reached with Brighton and Hove City Council following Wednesday’s strike.

At the heart of the dispute is the bin lorry driver’s pay grade, which the GMB says has been set too low, but the council says is the same as similarly skilled council jobs.

The GMB says it is currently considering what further action, if any, it will take.


The council’s head of city clean and parks Richard Bradley said: “We met with the GMB union again on Thursday to try and find a way to resolve the current dispute and get the service back on track and meeting resident’s needs.

“We apologise to residents affected. We have met every request of the union to meet, to carry out job evaluation work and to try and achieve an acceptable resolution.

“Unfortunately the GMB currently does not accept the job evaluation panel’s findings on the driver charge hand’s job grade.

“The GMB has also refused to take part in the panel itself. The grading is in line with other similar jobs across the council and has been through a robust and established evaluation process.

“Under equal pay legislation we cannot raise pay in one area of the council without justification and without applying an unaffordable cost across the entire organisation.

“We will continue to offer to meet our union colleagues and seek a swift end to the misery this ongoing industrial action is causing local residents.”

The council says it plans to have picked up all outstanding rubbish by the end of today, and will continue to pick up outstanding recycling through the early part of next week.

Residents are advised to leave their refuse out for collection.

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    So according to the council ‘Residents are advised to leave their refuse out for collection’…

    Perhaps, more importantly, residents need to get rid of this green-led council and get another party in charge (any party!) that considers the needs of residents. businesses and visitors and will fight to resolve this problem caused by unions, such as GMB, having too much power.

    Of course the greens want to encourage more services to be run by councils and nationalise others – so we can end up with even more strikes and poorer service delivery to those that fund them.

    What we need is to get CityClean outsourced as the current service is unfit for purpose!

    • feline1 Reply

      Gerald, it doesn’t matter whether the bin men are outsourced or not, they’ll still be members of the GMB union. Total logic fail on your part, I’m afraid.

      The Greens are actually the only party who HAVE stood up to the GMB and actually implemented the gender-equality the reforms that Labour and Tory shied away from, and that the GMB continue to (embarrassingly) protest about.

  2. Gerald Wiley Reply

    @feline1 – no – the point is that Cityclean are just a wholly owned subsidiary of the council, run by the GMB on behalf of the council, and dictating the service provided.

    If the whole shambles is sold off to another company, the ‘workers rights’ would be protected under TUPE, but the rates of pay and who does what would be up to the company running the refuse service – not the city council yokels prattling on about ‘equal pay legislation’.

    It would then be up to the outsourcing company to decide who does what – not a group of union leaders still living in the 1960s.

    And if this results in strikes that causes the union ruining our refuse service, then this may well be an acceptable cost to providing a better service for residents, businesses and visitors, rather than the shambles of one designed to make life easier for the refuse collectors.

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