Council and union agree deal to end two-week bin strike
End in sight for Brighton bin strike? Council and union strike deal in bitter two-week dispute that has seen bags of rubbish piled high on streets of seaside town
- GMB Union members on strike due to row with council over pay and conditions
- Strike today enters its 14th day and a further 30 days are planned from Thursday
- Rubbish has been piling high on the streets of the Sussex city during the strike
- Talks collapsed Friday, with council accused of ‘prolonging agony of residents’
- But GMB say a deal has been reached after parties took part in talks on Sunday
An end to Brighton’s disruptive bin strike could be in sight after union chiefs and council bosses struck a deal last night.
Rubbish has been piling high on the streets of the Sussex city during the industrial action – which enters its 14th day today.
Latest pictures from the seaside city, taken yesterday evening, show 5ft high mounds of bin bags and rubbish strewn across the city’s streets.
Residents say they have been forced to stay in their homes because of the stench.
Hopes of an end to the disruption were dashed on Friday when talks between the Green-led city council and the GMB union collapsed.
But officials at the union say a deal has now been agreed to end the bitter dispute over working conditions and pay for refuse works.
GMB and council officials spent most of Sunday thrashing out the new agreement, which it is hoped will prevent a further 30 days of strikes due to start on Thursday.
Rubbish has been piling high on the streets of the Sussex city during the industrial action – which is now into its 14th day
Latest pictures from the seaside city, taken last night, show 5ft high mounds of bin bags and waste
Residents, meanwhile, say they have been forced to stay in their homes because of the stench. Pictured: Rubbish bins pile high on the city’s pavements
GMB and council officials spent most of Sunday thrashing out the new agreement, which it is hoped will prevent a further 30-day of strikes due to start on Thursday. Pictured: Rubbish bins pile high on the city’s pavements
Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said: ‘Subject to GMB members’ sign-off on Monday and the council passing it at the policy and resources committee meeting on Tuesday, an agreement between Brighton and Hove council and the GMB has been reached.
‘If the agreement is passed by both parties, GMB will immediately suspend 30 days of strike action due to start on October 21.’
It comes after a deal to end the disruption collapsed on Friday night, with a union rep accusing the council of ‘prolonging the agony of residents’.
Private businesses have been locking and chaining bins up to stop people dumping their rubbish inside
The local authority has been under fire from residents who have been forced to stay in their homes because of the appalling stench caused by the strike. The crisis affects 120,000 households.
Piles of uncollected bin bags have formed in many streets, spilling waste on to pavements and roads across the seaside city.
Rats, foxes and seagulls have been tearing open the abandoned bags, leaving decaying refuse strewn around the smart Georgian streets. Drinks cartons, rotten food waste and nappy bags have all spilled out.
One Brighton local said: ‘We’ve had to keep all the windows shut because just opening them during the day – it’s horrible, really horrible.’
Another said: ‘Absolutely disgusting, there are rats everywhere. All the streets are just covered in bins, I’ve got four or five bin bags sitting outside my home waiting to be taken.’
Another added: ‘The piles of rubbish are growing daily and the stench is absolutely appalling. The risk to public health is extremely worrying as vermin are everywhere.
‘The GMB is hugely powerful in Brighton and Hove and it is holding the council over a barrel yet again.’
Refuse workers have been in a long battle with the council over imposing changes to daily duties and the removal of drivers from long-standing rounds without warning. Binmen at a picket line outside the Hollingdean Depot in Brighton on October 8
Refuse workers have been in a long battle with the council over imposing changes to daily duties and the removal of drivers from long-standing rounds without warning.
The GMB says changes in driver duties, crew variations and alterations in collections has had a ‘detrimental impact’ on the health of HGV drivers.
A council spokesman said the pandemic and a shortage of HGV drivers had created pressure and it was felt ‘appropriate to make crew changes or move a member of staff from one round or crew to another’.
The spokesperson told the BBC that it respected the decision by some of its Cityclean staff to strike, and it was ‘keen to address the issues raised’ in order to ‘get the city clean as soon as possible’.
School cleaners and cooks join bin men and ScotRail staff on strike in Glasgow as world leaders prepare to descend on city for COP26 climate summit
School cleaners and cooks are set to join bin men and ScotRail staff on strike in Glasgow as world leaders prepare to descend on the city for the COP26 climate summit.
Cleansing workers and schools support staff who are members of the GMB union voted in favour of industrial action that could disrupt the climate summit starting next month.
A total of 1,500 Glasgow City Council staff in the refuse, cleansing, school janitorial and catering sectors could strike because of an ongoing pay dispute, with 96.9 per cent of returned ballots backing industrial action.
GMB members rejected a £850-a-year increase for staff earning up to £25,000 a year from local authority umbrella body Cosla, with the union – along with Unison and Unite – all calling for a £2,000 pay rise.
Cosla said negotiations are ongoing.
Residents in Glasgow say they have been forced to watch their pavements pile higher with bin bags bursting at the seams and gutters fill with litter amid the ongoing dispute
Glasgow’s bin men are also striking over a pay dispute and have demanded conditions are improved by their national employer.
Residents say they have been forced to watch their pavements pile higher with bin bags bursting at the seams and gutters fill with litter amid the ongoing dispute.
The call for industrial action comes after Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken was criticised for saying the city needs a ‘spruce up’ before the COP26 conference.
Her comments received a backlash from politicians and members of the public who claimed she was ‘out of touch’ with the city.
A Cosla spokesman said: ‘We appreciate everything that Local Government workers have been doing, and continue to do, to support people and communities during the pandemic and as we begin to recover.
‘We continue with ongoing, constructive negotiations.’
Rail workers will also go on strike during COP26, the RMT union confirmed on Thursday, over a separate dispute over pay and conditions.
ScotRail staff will strike from Monday November 1 until Friday November 12.
Staff on the Caledonian Sleeper will hold two 24-hour strikes: one from 11.59am on Sunday October 31 and one on Thursday November 11, also from 11.59am.
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