Binmen refuse to work over dirty lorries

Posted On 16 Nov 2020 at 12:00 pm

Cityclean staff have refused to go out on rounds this morning because they say bin lorries are not being deep cleaned regularly enough.

Crews are currently in the Hollingdean depot canteen while council officers negotiate with the GMB union, which represents most of the refuse workers.

The GMB says staff, particularly those who were shielding during the first lockdown but who are still at work in the second, are worried about the impact of covid-contaminated rubbish.

Brighton and Hove City Council says its cleaning complies with waste industry guidelines, but wants to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

However, binmen were told this morning the lorries might not be cleaned in time for tomorrow’s rounds.

GMB regional organiser Gary Palmer said: Under section 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, we have genuine concerns about the staff and the cleanliness of vehicles.

“Employees are refusing to go until they’ve been cleaned.

“Drivers are trying to keep the cabs as clean as they can with wipes. But the backs of the vehicles and all that equipment could be contaminated from waste like tissues from households with covid positive residents.

“Considering this time that people aren’t shielding as they were during the first lockdown, staff are asking for a proper programme of cleaning for the vehicles is put in, as is required.

“The council’s not listening to them and this morning it’s come to a head.

“Last Monday, the council was warned that there is a huge groundswell of feeling and staff were very upset and concerned.

“This morning, they have refused under the Health and Safety At Work Act to use the vehicles.

“And while the council has been spending time chasing me to report a wildcat strike action this morning, it hasn’t started to clean one vehicle.”

A council spokesperson said: “We’re aware that Cityclean crews have not started any collections today due to concerns about whether vehicles are adequately deep cleaned following them being in the workshop for repairs.

“The health, wellbeing and safety of staff is our top priority.

“Our cleaning and work arrangements are in line with the Waste Industry Safety and Health forum guidelines, however we’re keen to understand our colleagues’ concerns so as to resolve them as quickly as possible.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and assure residents we’re doing all we can to understand the concerns of staff so collections can be started.”

  1. Dave Reply

    Why can’t they clean there own bin trucks at the end of shift

  2. Tam Reply

    Instead of sitting around in the canteen waiting for someone else to come to a decision they could go and clean their own lorries? Also very few of the seem to wear masks or gloves while doing the rounds so they’re either not being provided with the right protective equipment or they’re not that bothered about it in the first place.

  3. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Agree with both of those above. Instead of sitting on their backsides doing absolutely nothing at the behest of the GMB, maybe they could assist the ‘war effort’ by actually doing something, anything at all, like a little bit of cleaning. If we’re talking communal bins, then the binmen never touch them or even get out of the lorry, so no danger there. If we’re talking wheelie bins, then a pair of gloves and/or some hand gel might be the answer to touching the outsides of the bins, as the binmen don’t touch the contents.

    I would add that those of us who have to battle very high winds and wet weather and communal bins that are difficult to open, especially if you are elderly and not very fit, still have to deal with their rubbish, so that fit, paid blokes who decide limply to do whatever the GMB says and don’t do anything to help people are highly unappreciated by the public.

  4. Jonathan Simons Reply

    Is it too much to ask for them to actually do their jobs and collect our rubbish rather than taking part in the GMB’s infantile war on the city? Wish I could just take a day off by claiming something is wrong when it’s been exactly the same since March!

  5. Andrew Phillips Reply

    I thought the GMB were meant to represent workers but it looks like they represent people who refuse to work!

  6. Chaz Reply

    The continuing GMB farce.
    Anything to stop their members from working but getting more money.
    Pathetic unions.

  7. Roger Francoius Reply

    Get agency drivers in to do the job. I have been told (by a very good source) that they do a better job anyway !

  8. Steve pudsey Reply

    I can see it now. The usual suspects all giving it large.

    Get back to work.

    Honestly, where else can you start at 6am and be finished by 11am, but be paid 8 hours?

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