Brighton bin strike: Private firms drafted in to tackle rubbish amid GMB dispute

Blocked pavements and vermin have become a ‘growing and serious’ health issue.

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 17 October 2021 19:16
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<p>A man picks his way through the growing mountain of rubbish in Montpellier Terrace as the Brighton bin strike continues.</p>

A man picks his way through the growing mountain of rubbish in Montpellier Terrace as the Brighton bin strike continues.

A number of contractors have been drafted in to help tackle the mountains of rubbish lining the streets of Brighton as a result of the ongoing bin strikes in the city.

The news comes after Brighton and Hove City Council clashed with the GMB union, leading to 10 days of industrial action that could last until at least mid-November.

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

A council spokesperson said it respected the decision of some of its Cityclean staff to strike, saying it is “keen to address the issues raised” in order to “get the city clean as soon as possible”.

They have since offered a “significant and generous pay offer, benefiting some of the lowest paid staff across the whole council, as well as the Cityclean service”.

Talks between GMB and the council commenced today. Gary Palmer, a GMB organiser, has said they could prompt a city-wide clean up.

There will be an interval in the strikes between Monday and Wednesday, creating a window for some of the rubbish to be cleared.

The council has also requested the union allow for a limited number of dispensations to that some staff can work should striking resume on Thursday.

This comes after GMB General Secretary Gary Smith has called for Brighton City Councillor, Joe Miller, to be sacked for for comparing the strikers to terrorists, say reports from the BBC.

“I hate to refer to Maggie Thatcher, but this is a similar situation - you can’t negotiate with terrorists,” said Mr Miller in a meeting last week.

The Conservative councillor previously said he would not be “bullied” by the GMB.

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