I am very pleased that a deal has been struck to end the bin strike. After weeks of rubbish and recycling piling up in the streets, with residents suffering, it was a relief all round that a resolution to the dispute was finally found.
I have been open about the fact that the dispute never should have dragged on this long – and about the fact that the Green administration should have resolved it long before it got to the point of strike action.
The last Labour administration avoided strike action in 2019 by keeping lines of communication open and working hard with both unions and managers to find solutions.
This included bringing in ACAS and a senior industrial relations expert who was respected by both sides involved in the dispute.
If these steps had been taken sooner, this strike may have been avoided and residents needn’t have suffered.
When Labour left office there was a clear plan in place to address the underlying issues at Cityclean, recruit a senior industrial relations officer and implement a long-term solution.
We are disappointed that this plan seems to have been abandoned. So, we need a commitment from the administration to find a long-term solution.
I am, however, really pleased with the terms of the deal to end the bin strike, which eradicates low pay at the council and gets our city cleaned up.
And we in the Labour group are proud to have been part of the process of reaching that agreement.
The deal to finally resolve the dispute means a pay rise for some of the lowest paid workers in the council, which my Conservative colleagues have taken serious objection to.
We in the Labour group welcome the fact that pay will increase for low-paid key workers across the council, as well as for HGV drivers.
It gives the council a greater chance of retaining these essential workers who are in high demand and short supply following Brexit.
This deal is a real positive step for the council. However, the strike could and should have been avoided, and serious lessons must be learned by the Green administration regarding their handling of this debacle.
Councillor John Allcock is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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