Bin men and street sweepers are refusing to work this morning after the details of a pay review were revealed.

After months of negotiations, Brighton and Hove City Council revealed its offer on how it would revamp the system of allowances and expenses to staff yesterday (May 7).

The majority of its 8,000-strong workforce will not lose out.

But refuse and recycling staff at Hollingdean depot are to lose up to £4,000 a year.

At 7am this morning (May 8), no vehicles left the Hollingdean depot with staff refusing to work and remaining in the canteen.

After being told how the council's offer would affect them, the workforce said they wanted to discuss the issue with the council's chief executive Penny Thompson and council leader Jason Kitcat before "even considering working".

It means communal bins will be uncollected and the city's streets will not be swept.

Due to the bank holiday "catch-up rounds", those whose normal collection day is Tuesday will be left with full bins.

Union support

A leaflet being passed around by GMB representatives said it would work so that staff did not give up "one penny".

Mark Turner, of GMB, said: "There's not a single member of the workforce who does not support the union on this.

"At the end of the day they are very angry. I warned the council and the negotiators that this would and yet they just carried on.

"These are hard working low-paid people who, if this goes ahead, could be faced with making the choice of putting food on the table or paying their rent."

Strike ballot

Mr Turner added the union had permission to ballot for strike action "as and when" it felt there was no other option.

Elected politicians handed over control of negotiations to unelected officers at a council meeting in January.

Labour voted against the move but the Conservatives and four members of the Green minority administration, which was elected on a pledge to resist all cuts, voted for the plan.

One refuse worker, who had worked at the depot for 25 years, told The Argus this morning: "The Greens are bottling out.

"They are getting other people to do their work for them. They have not got the guts to do their job."


The council's final offer was announced yesterday and a 90-day consultation into the proposal will now take place.

Ms Thompson said: "These proposals will have little impact on most of the work force and will mean positive changes for the majority of staff affected.

"For those who will see a loss we have ensured that compensation will be provided.

"The negotiations have never been about making savings.

"This is however about making sure that we are a council fit for purpose with a fair, consistent  and affordable pay and allowances system alongside a clear agenda to provide efficient, quality services which benefit everyone.”

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