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Threat of new bin strike as union vote on council deal
Bin men could go on strike again in a matter of weeks – with union representatives warning a vote on settling a pay dispute is on a knife edge.
GMB members at Brighton and Hove City Council’s Cityclean are to decide on a revised allowances proposal this week following the devastating strike last month.
However, Mark Turner, the union’s branch secretary for Brighton and Hove, said it is “unclear” as to whether the deal will be accepted.
He said: “I can’t go into the specific details. However, I can confirm that it’s extremely complex.
“It impacts different members in different ways so it is very difficult to predict the result.
“I would say it is 50:50 in terms of it being concluded or us going back out.”
Union members will be balloted on the offer in the coming days with the result announced on Friday.
The issue stems back to the council’s proposal to create a new “fair, consistent and affordable” allowance system earlier this year. Union leaders claimed the plans would see some of their workers lose up to £4,000 a year.
Negotiations were held but, after talks fell down, workers went out on strike.
The week-long action saw waste strewn across the city with the council unable to recruit agency staff.
On the sixth day the council put a revised offer to the union which Mr Turner said he was “satisfied” could be put to his members.
The decision put a suspension on all industrial action for 28 days.
The council has released details of the new offer without going into specifics.
The proposed changes will see staff work across Bank Holidays with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Street sweepers will also work longer hours with more work at peak times.
There are also proposed changes to routes to “enable efficiencies”.
In a letter to councillors, the authority’s chief executive Penny Thompson said she was “hopeful” the new terms could be agreed.
She said: “We are still consulting with staff from across the council to ensure that our allowances system is fair, consistent and affordable.
“Detailed and constructive talks are continuing with both our unions and we are aiming for an October implementation. The latest proposal includes a Cityclean service redesign which will benefit residents and the city.
“We have written to Cityclean staff to set out in detail how the revised proposals will affect them.”
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