An independent outsider is to review the claims and counterclaims being made at the council’s Cityclean depot in Hollingdean.
The agreement emerged after binmen went on unofficial strike today (Friday 12 July).
Members of the GMB union at the Brighton and Hove City Council refuse, recycling and street cleaning service have already voted for industrial action, with strikes expected in a few weeks’ time.
Their dispute centres on an investigation into union rep Dave Russell and where he is able to work while the investigation takes place.
Mediators from ACAS – the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service – are due to meet representatives of the council and GMB next Thursday (18 July).
In a statement the council said: “It’s disappointing that unofficial strike action took place today in the council’s refuse and recycling services.
“All efforts were made to ensure collections took place while we talked with staff to understand and resolve the concerns.
“The council has received a number of allegations and counter allegations about members of staff which need to be investigated and we’ve agreed with GMB to appoint an independent person from outside of the council to review this.
“As we do in all cases like this, we’ve asked some of the staff involved to work away from the Cityclean depot to ensure disciplinary and grievance investigations are completed fairly and while the ACAS discussions continue.
“Asking people to work away from their normal workplace does not mean someone is suspended and is a neutral act.
“The staff members involved continue to undertake their roles, but at different sites. There is no loss of GMB representation for GMB members at the depot and union members have full choice about who represents them.
“We’re not clear about why the unofficial action took place today but we’re talking with everyone involved and we’re determined to work with the GMB and ACAS to resolve this and agree future ways of working together.
“The safety and wellbeing of all our Cityclean staff is a priority to us.”
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