Brighton waste workers walkout

Residents of Brighton will be without waste and recycling collections today (November 9) as industrial action grips the city.

Members of the GMB employed by Brighton and Hove Council are taking their first day of strike action in what they say will be a series of strikes ‘set to bring refuse collection and street cleaning in Brighton to a standstill’.

The strike’s reason is very similar to to one taking place in Leeds for the past two months and involves wage cuts.

According to the GMB workers face a pay cut of up to £8,000 each, with around 800 staff affected.

GMB members voted by 94% to 6% to strike with branch secretary, Mark Turner, saying: “I’ve never seen such a solid group of workers and this shows that they, like GMB members in Leeds, will do whatever it takes to protect themselves from Conservative pay cuts.

“GMB has had meetings with the opposition Labour and Green parties who support the workers.

“At the same time Mary Mears, the leader of the Conservative administration which is trying to implement the cuts, has hit the bunker and is not responding to e-mails or requests for a meeting.

“We are calling for the residents of Brighton & Hove to let Mary Mears know that she cannot stay in hiding and needs to bring a decent offer to the negotiating table or she will face the wrath of voters when the streets turn to chaos.”

A council statement said: “This issue is about the council’s legal and moral duty to pay employees fairly without passing on unnecessary costs to the council taxpayer.

“We have had productive talks with the unions up to this point about how to fulfil this duty and we are disappointed the GMB has taken its members out on strike while the council is prepared to continue negotiations.

“There will, undoubtedly, be some disruption to rubbish collections over the days of the strike if it goes ahead and the week that follows but we will do our utmost to minimise any delays in collections.

“We’d ask residents’ patience during this period and we remain hopeful we can resume talks with the GMB.”

Luke Walsh

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