From The Argus:
RUBBISH collections could be disrupted for “weeks or even months” after unions announced a fresh round of strike action.
Cityclean refuse workers in Brighton and Hove will not work overtime or collect excess roadside waste as of tomorrow.
There will also be a full day of strike action on Monday.
The GMB union called on the council to settle the longstanding dispute over pay and allowances, which last summer saw the city strewn with rubbish for weeks.
After reaching a deal then, the GMB has now accused the council of failing to honour agreements or consult over new working practices.
The union claims workers have been unfairly harassed and removed from rounds.
The council claims its offers have been rejected and said ceding to demands could open it up to equal pay claims across the authority.
After talks broke down union members voted 89.7% in favour of strike action and 96.4% in favour of action short of a strike action.
Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said: “The council’s continuing filibustering on issues which could have been settled if management really wanted to has resulted in our members having no other option than to vote as they have.
“Unfortunately the people of Brighton and Hove will see the service affected, potentially for weeks or even months to come, as both the continuous part of action short of strike begins to have a long term accumulative effect on the service in the city, on top of the consequence, which I’m sure residents are well aware, of any initial day of industrial action and the further potentially damage to collections following any further added dates.”
Richard Bradley, head of Cityclean and parks at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “I am of course disappointed that the GMB Union has given formal notice of industrial action.
“This will inevitably cause problems on rounds in the city and I really recognise how difficult this is for residents who have already put up with many weeks and months of disruption.
“The council now has an allowances systems which is fair and equitable across the whole organisation.
“We have asked the trade union to postpone action and are keen to keep discussions going to try to avoid this action if at all possible.”
The council said it would return to the negotiating table after Monday’s strike.