A CONSERVATIVE councillor compared a union to “terrorists” in a crunch meeting about the bin strike.

Joe Miller, Conservative councillor for Rottingdean Coastal, said in a meeting today between Brighton and Hove City Council and the GMB Union that “you can’t negotiate with terrorists”.

The comment was made at a cross-party meeting today.

Council leader, Phélim Mac Cafferty, told Cllr Miller to mind his language and asked him to withdraw his comment. Cllr Joe Miller did withdraw his comment.

Mark Turner, branch leader for GMB, said the comments were “outrageous”.

Mr Turner said: “I think they’re absolutely outrageous. He and his party may have a negative view of a trade union and I accept that and respect that.

“But to refer to the GMB as terrorists and its members as an organisation in this day and age is absolutely outrageous.

The Argus: Joe Miller withdrew his comments.Joe Miller withdrew his comments.

“I have to say, in the public gallery was one of our members who is a BME member of the council workforce and was absolutely distraught at the comments made by Councillor Miller on behalf of the Conservative group.

“I wouldn’t expect anything different from the Conservatives in regards to the GMB or any other trade union anyway. But to refer to us as terrorists and resorting to terrorist tactics.

“From a politician in the city who at the last general election was standing for the Conservatives as an MP. Is this what Boris’s new crop will be like?”

In terms of the industrial action, the GMB branch leader said they have a mandate to stop the bin strike if the attitude of negotiating teams change.

He said: “I have a mandate where we can suspend the action. Next week's action is due to start on the 21st. It could be possibly not happening.

“But they need to be taking the decisions, on top of that the attitude of the chief executive and his negotiating team needs to change. We’re not asking for them to roll over and have their bellies tickled but they need to respect our position and our members. At the moment, they’re not.”

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.