Brighton refuse strike continues as GMB rejects offer 

A strike affecting recycling collections in Brighton and Hove is set to continue after trade union GMB rejected a second formal pay offer put forward by the Green-party run council today (11 October). 

Trade union GMB and Brighton and Hove city council held decisive talks yesterday

The strike began on the 5 October and it now set to continue until the 17 October, following the failed negotiations.

All household waste and recycling services have been affected by the strike, with the council advising residents to visit household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) to dispose of uncollected rubbish.

GMB claimed that the council imposed “unilateral daily changes” on workers, and removed drivers from long standing rounds “without process, by management whim”. GMB also raised issues on the pay for all Cityclean staff.

However, Brighton and Hove city council have said that high levels of staff illness, self-isolation and the national HGV driver shortage have meant it has at times asked staff to work “flexibly”, which has meant moving drivers or operatives to another view or collection round.

The offer put forward by the council today, which related to issues surrounding pay, is the second one that has been rejected by the trade union.

The council claimed that the GMB left the meeting prior to hearing the full details of the significant offer.

‘Disappointing’

“We urge the GMB to review the offer formally submitted to them in writing and come back to the table to discuss with us.” – Brighton and Hove city council

Speaking about the next steps a council spokesperson said: “It’s disappointing that this offer has been turned down today. It was a significant and generous offer which would benefit not just staff in the Cityclean service, but also staff across the whole council.

“We urge the GMB to review the offer formally submitted to them in writing and come back to the table to discuss with us.”

The council said that if an agreement cannot be reached, all resolution options will now be tabled in a report to go to an urgent Sub-Committee meeting to be decided on by councillors. This meeting will take place next week.

It is not the first time GMB and Brighton and Hove city council have clashed.

Cityclean staff have previously gone on strike over “anti-union behaviour” by the council, with long-standing issues around pay.

Local reports have claimed that there are “piles of rubbish” accumulating around the city particularly after the city hosted a half marathon over the weekend.

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