Refuse collectors to go on strike in Green Party controlled council


Refuse and recycling workers at a Green Party controlled council will launch a week-long strike over pay tomorrow, causing collections to be suspended.

Members of the GMB union at Brighton and Hove City Council voted heavily in favour of industrial action in protest at planned changes to allowances and expenses which they say will cut take home pay by up to £4,000 a year.

The council said there will be no rubbish, recycling or street cleaning services for seven days from tomorrow.

The dispute started in January, when the union accused council leader Jason Kitcat of giving authority to implement a revised pay and allowances package for employees.

The union said the workers had delivered over £7.5 million of efficiency savings and had been "rewarded" with three years of pay freezes.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny will join a march through Brighton tomorrow.

Penny Thompson, the council's chief executive, said in an open letter to residents: "The proposals we have put forward will mean allowances are paid consistently and fairly to everyone across the council. At the moment there are variations and we are required by law to make sure the system is fair and transparent.

"While some staff will gain from our proposals, unfortunately some will see a reduction in their allowances, so we have offered compensation in these cases.

"If planned industrial action does go ahead on Friday it will unfortunately mean more disruption to our rubbish and recycling service. I would like to say sorry to residents for the problems we may encounter and we will do all we can to minimise disruption. In reality our options are limited; we can't legally employ agency staff to do the work of striking workers."