Council responds to ‘regrettable’ bin strike threat

Posted On 19 Aug 2021 at 5:45 pm

Brighton and Hove City Council has responded to the threat of a bin strike by GMB members who drive refuse and recycling lorries.

A consultative ballot by the union found that 98 per cent of drivers who belonged to the union – or 5 out of 53 – favoured taking action in a dispute with the council.

A formal strike ballot will now be held with the possibility of a strike next month adding to the challenges facing Cityclean, the council’s rubbish and recycling service.

The council said: “We want to thank our very hardworking Cityclean staff for working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure our streets and city have remained as clean and tidy as possible.

“With many of our drivers and crew having caught covid-19 or been forced to self-isolate, the staffing situation has changed on an almost daily basis.

“We haven’t been able to supplement the shortage of staff with agency staff as normal as they are also experiencing the difficulties of covid and self-isolation.

“Our managers have therefore had to ask all Cityclean staff to work flexibly to make sure our residents and customers receive the best possible service.

“This has meant having to change crew members around when needed, move them on to different collection rounds at short notice, ask crews to collect work that wasn’t collected by other crews and generally adapt to the changing and very challenging situation.”

The council added: “We fully understand the impact covid and lockdown have and still are having on our staff and Cityclean managers have been as supportive to staff as possible while also dealing with their own covid issues.

“We are having difficulties with some of our lorries but this is mainly due to struggling to get much-needed parts due to Brexit.

“However, we are carrying out huge investment in our fleet which will see these issues resolved in the near future, including a new all-electric refuse vehicle in mid-September.

“We are fully committed to working with the GMB, as we have done throughout lockdown, so it’s therefore regrettable the GMB is balloting its members on possible industrial action at this time.”

Read what the GMB said when the news of a strike ballot emerged.

  1. Chaz. Reply

    The GMB and/or Cityclean are always on strike for any reason.
    I have to chase every week for missed collections.
    Disgusting how the Greens cannot run a council properly.

    • Denise Reply

      I think you’ll find the dreadful Cityclean contract this city is stuck with was agreed and implemented by Labour, not the Greens.

      I’m also pretty confident that the greens aren’t responsible for Covid causing staff shortages or Brexit causing shortage of parts.

      You lot sound utterly stupid blaming everything and anything on the greens.

      • nick Reply

        It’s a myth that Cityclean is a contract. It isn’t. It is a fully in house part of the council. The service was outsourced years ago. It failed. It was brought in house. And it has been failing since (with the noticeable exception of lockdowns when worked well in the main!)

        As Cityclean is fully run by the council the current council and they alone take responsibility. The current dispute, one of a long series, seems to be down to poor communication once again. Why can’t they get that right?

        As to Brexit causing shortages of parts. Well, google it. Other councils refuse teams, transport companies and other motorists aren’t finding this. Just B&H council it seems. And indeed only the refuse part of the council – other departments seem to be doing fine! So looks like a political excuse rather than a real one…..

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      This has been a problem under all Administrations. Set to continue until the GMB’s Nark Turner retires.

    • Georgia Reply

      I think you mean 53 out of 54 favoured taking action,not 5 out of 54. Just a typo probably.

  2. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    What is so very difficult about an efficient rubbish collection?? The answer has to be mostly the GMB, who love to flex their muscles and carry their sheep-like members along with them.

    Yes, we know that the Council is also at fault in all this and that the vehicles keep breaking down, but efficient rubbish collection is, in my view, the bottom-line fundamental responsibility of a council and they need to get a grip.

    Many of us have been suffering from mental health and wellbeing issues since the start of the pandemic, but we just have to get on with it (UNPAID, unlike the binmen)

    Christopher is right about this.

  3. kirstyM Reply

    Lets have bike lanes and let’s take them away no wait let’s have them, let’s spend money on the i360 let’s spend money on everything else then let’s also get the bin men to strike, Brighton council is full of rubbish, sack the lot of you shameful councillors, Brighton is a dump

    • AhhhgTaxes Reply

      Ok so all those things whilst yes are paid for by the council are actually from different pots of money that have strict defined financial controls. IN the case of the Bike lanes it was money from central government that was allowed only for transport changes

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