THE city council says it is “very sorry” for ongoing problems with bin collections.

The apology comes as figures reveal staff absence in the Brighton and Hove Cityclean workforce has dropped dramatically.

Despite this, bins remain overflowing across the city and a leading councillor is asking why residents “continue to suffer such consistently bad service”.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry for the ongoing problems with recycling and rubbish collections.

“We are looking at where we need to get additional support and are aiming to catch up on missed collections and resume normal service as soon as possible.”

It was revealed that between January 13 and 26, one fifth of the city’s bin workers were not at work.

That worked out to about 20 staff each day.

It was costing the council £11,000 a week to bring in an army of agency workers to plug the gap.

The council said this was due to sickness and “unexpected” annual leave.

However, according to council figures taken between February 2 and 14, an average of six staff are now absent each day.

In June, members of the GMB voted in favour of a strike amid an argument between union representatives and Brighton and Hove City Council officers.

But action was officially called off last week when an agreement was reached following negotiations between GMB representatives, council staff and the council’s political leader Nancy Platts, who is a registered GMB member.

Neither the council nor the GMB will disclose what was agreed.

Councillor Phelim Mccafferty, the Brunswick and Adelaide representative and leader of the Green Group, took pictures of overflowing bins last week in nine locations.

He said: “I reported the problems to senior council officials but it seems with dreary predictability there’s always some excuse or other which means residents’ litter goes uncollected.

“Our residents keep to their end of the bargain by putting their rubbish and recycling in the bin.

“The council needs to keep to theirs.

“Cityclean is spending nearly £1 million on agency staff while the number of missed recycling and waste collections keep growing. It begs the question why do residents have to continue suffering such consistently bad service?

“Last week Labour told us they’ve resolved industrial relations with the GMB at Cityclean.

“However, so that our residents can have trust in these key council services, we need confidence that constant issues with overflowing bins will be speedily resolved.”