THE BIN dispute is “very close” to being resolved after council leader Jason Kitcat met with refuse drivers.

The Green party leader of Brighton and Hove City Council stepped into the “Lion’s Den” in a meeting with drivers and heard of “failings” with the refuse service, which has been paralysed by industrial action.

GMB union leader Mark Turner said Coun Kitcat would be given time to “work his magic” before any decision was made on further action.

Coun Kitcat heard grievances and had no power to negotiate.

Mr Turner said Coun Kitcat won the respect of drivers following the 80 minute meeting at Cityclean’s Hollingbury depot.

He said: “The drivers weren’t exactly skipping and whistling out of the depot.

“But they were content that he came into the lion’s den and listened to them.

“We’re very close to an agreement now. It’s down to whether the council will take a leap of faith.

“We haven’t made any decision on further action. We will give Jason Kitcat a little bit if time to work his magic.

“If he pulls something off then perhaps it can be put on his epitaph when he leaves the council.”

The current dispute centres around 38 drivers who want their job descriptions revised to reflect extra training.

The council says adjusting their pay would leave it open to equal pay claims.

It is hoped the council leader can bring management closer in order to resolve the dispute.

But a stumbling block could be lingering staff distrust of management.

Industrial action began on September 12 with drivers refusing to work overtime.

Mr Turner added: “The problem we have is our members have lost all trust with management.

“Even if we reach an agreement, it’s a matter of convincing members.”

Coun Kitcat’s office said the meeting was “productive” with formal negotiations continuing.