Strike action suspended

I’m really pleased that the GMB Union has decided to suspend its strike action so that normal rubbish collections can resume in Brighton & Hove. We will now resume talks about the details of our proposal but I very much hope that we are close to resolving this once and for all.

At all times during the negotiations we have aimed to meet our legal and moral duty to pay employees fairly without passing on unnecessary costs to council tax payers – at times a difficult balancing act.

Although the strike has lasted only two days, it will take a while for the Council to catch up on any missed collections and I’d ask for residents’ patience during this period. I expect things to be back to normal by the end of next week. We have a hard working and dedicated workforce, which we are proud of and I’m confident they will get the job done as quickly as possible.

I would also just like to add that the whole equal pay issue, which this strike was about, has been ongoing now since 1998. This could have been resolved a long time ago by the previous Labour Administration of the Council, had the political will been there. I was, therefore, more than a little surprised to see ex-Labour Leader of the Council, Simon Burgess, quoted in the Argus yesterday as saying that “equal pay is a very important issue and is something that needs to be addressed.” Quite Simon – it’s just a shame that you didn’t implement it when you had the chance.

2 Responses to “Strike action suspended”

  1. 1 Charlotte Vere November 12, 2009 at 7:30 am

    It is very good news to hear that the strike has been postponed and that talks have resumed – seeing rubbish pile up is not pleasant for anyone, residents or CityClean employees. I am sure that you and your team will work hard for a resolution.

    Best wishes,

    Charlotte Vere (Shortlisted candidate for PPC for Brighton Pavilion)

  2. 2 Scott Digby November 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

    The issue of equalising pay is a difficult one. AT my Council I led the negotiations with the two main unions although we had been active in addressing some of the issues with the refuse service earlier in the process. The application of no-win-no-fee lawyers was also a significant threat (although it did not materialise) as well as the problem with bringing along the schools to agree collectively to the Council’s negotiation lead. We are now on the verge of settling but I appreciate the work that the B&H team lead by Mary will be going through and wish them every success.

    The government’s drive to get the pay agenda implemented was not matched by any additional resources and merely the offer, on application, to consider allowing Councils to capitalise the settlement. It is not feasible or possible to capitalise funds that Councils do not have and the robust approach B&H are taking is to be supported. Overwhelmingly my neighbours around Montpelier Street and Victoria Street, the residents I have spoken too and the comments on the Argus, support the Councils strong action whilst also hoping that a settlement can be found.

    I hope the ongoing discussions prove fruitful – the size of the issue when driving around Pavilion on Monday was considerable, only a day into the strike. Maybe the realisation of actually how much waste is generated – from seeing the build up early this week – will help raise the recycling attainment across the city and can be used to help educate about the real need to recycle in Brighton and Hove?

    Best regards

    Scott Digby – (Shortlisted candidate for Brighton Pavilion PPC)

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