Brighton bin strike: Refuse collection drivers accept deal to end dispute over pay and conditions

‘This dispute has always been about respect for the difficult job our members do’ says GMB union

Emily Atkinson
Monday 18 October 2021 23:01
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<p>Rubbish bins pile high on the city’s pavements as the Brighton bin strike continued on October 17.</p>

Rubbish bins pile high on the city’s pavements as the Brighton bin strike continued on October 17.

Refuse collection drivers have accepted a deal aimed at ending a dispute over pay and working conditions, bringing to a close the 13-day long bin strike in Brighton.

The GMB said its members in Brighton and Hove voted in favour of an agreement, which will now go before councillors.

Rubbish has been piling up on the streets since a strike started earlier this month after Brighton and Hove City Council clashed with GMB, leading to industrial action threatened to last until mid-November.

Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said: “GMB members have voted to accept a written commitment from the council to increase pay and end unilateral round changes.

“If councillors vote in a similar positive fashion this week, the dispute is over and GMB will immediately suspend 30 days of strike action due to commence on 21 October.

“This dispute has always been about respect for the difficult job our members do in the city and the difficult circumstances and poor equipment they’re often forced to put up with.

“We know the disruption has been difficult for the residents of Brighton and Hove and industrial action was always our last resort.

“But the council had ignored or delayed addressing our members’ concerns for too long.”

The news comes after a number of contractors were drafted in to help tackle the mountains of rubbish lining the streets of Brighton.

Blocked pavements and vermin became a “growing and serious” health issue as a result of the dispute, forcing the council to call in third parties in light of safety concerns.

A council spokesperson said: “We had positive talks yesterday, and thank GMB representatives for meeting on a Sunday.

“We’re pleased that the formal resolution proposal has this morning been agreed by GMB members and it will now be put forward to the council’s Policy & Resources Committee for ratification in the next few days.”

“We apologise to residents, business and visitors to the city for the disruption during the last few weeks and thank you for your patience.”

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