BINS are going uncollected across the city as workers refuse to go out until their vehicles are cleaned because they fear they will get coronavirus.

Refuse collectors claim Brighton and Hove City Council is putting them at risk of Covid infection after failing to deep clean their trucks "for months".

This morning, dozens of binmen refused to leave the Hollingdean depot unless the vehicles are cleaned.

The Argus:

The workers say the vehicles have not been deep-cleaned 'for months'

Gary Palmer, a regional organiser for the GMB Union, said: "They are refusing to work over fears for their health and safety.

"The staff have raised these concerns for a considerable time with local management. They have serious concerns that their health and safety is not being taken seriously.

"The drivers clean their cabs with clinical wipes, but the vehicles are not deep cleaned and steam cleaned. This has been an issue for three, four, maybe even five months.

The Argus:

Trucks have not left the depot in Hollingdean

"There's a huge potential of cross-infection, every bin has the potential to be contaminated with Covid waste.

"A lot of other industries manage to deep clean to keep everybody safe - obviously this is too much for Brighton and Hove City Council."

Mr Palmer said this was not a strike, but the withdrawal of labour on health and safety grounds.

Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act allows employees to refuse to attend work due to health and safety concerns.

Section 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Act states a person in control of a premises has a duty to take all "reasonable measures to ensure that all are safe and without risks to the health of both employees and non-employees".

"This is not just an option," Mr Palmer said.

"They're required to keep their employees safe."

The council has apologised for the disruption and insists that the health, wellbeing and safety of staff is its “top priority”. 

The Argus:

A spokesman said: “We’re aware that City Clean crews have not started any collections today due to concerns about whether vehicles are adequately deep cleaned following them being in the workshop for repairs.

“Our cleaning and work arrangements are in line with the Waste Industry Safety and Health forum guidelines, however we’re keen to understand our colleagues’ concerns so as to resolve them as quickly as possible.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and assure residents we’re doing all we can to understand the concerns of staff so collections can be started.”