Brighton’s bin men begin week-long strike

by - 14th June 2013, 8.00 BST

GMB southernBrighton’s bin men today begin a week-long strike after their employer threatened them with a £4,000 pay cut.

The GMB members, employed in refuse, recycling and street sweeping, voted by 95.6% in favour of taking industrial action in response to Green Party plans to reduce their take home pay.

The dispute began in January when the Council’s Green Party leader, Jason Kitcat, gave full authority to its £150,000 Chief Executive, Penny Thompson, to negotiate and implement a revised pay and allowances package without any recourse to councillors. This led to a final offer being made in April, which included cuts of up to £4,000 a head from some of the council’s lowest paid employees.

Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser for Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “GMB members employed by Brighton & Hove City Council are facing massive cuts to their take-home pay following Green Party & Conservative plans to alter their terms and conditions.

“At a meeting of Brighton’s Policy and Resources Committee on 24th January 2013, Green and Conservative councillors forced through a measure which authorised council officers to implement a ‘modernised pay and conditions package’. Labour Councillors voted against the proposals.

“Since then council officers have been in negotiations over the proposals with the recognised trade unions. At a meeting that took place on 29 April 2013 the council made what they described as a ‘final offer’ which still included pay cuts of up to £95 a week for some of the lowest paid staff.

“GMB members rejected the offer and have since voted 95.6% voting in favour of strike action. The first strike starts today. There is a march and rally to support the strikers tomorrow.”