A UNION claims to fear reprisals from the public after a Conservative councillor said "you can't negotiate with terrorists" during a meeting about the bin strike.

The GMB union fear councillor Joe Miller's comments yesterday could be "seen by some people in the wrong way".

Speaking at the picket line this morning, regional organiser Gary Palmer said he was outraged by the remark, "especially coming after the anniversary of the September 11 attacks".

He said: “We were then considering the safety of people on the picket line should somebody take the councillor’s comments out of context and literally.”

Mr Palmer said that he and a delegation of members were left “horrified and shocked” by the comments at the meeting of the policy and resources committee.

He said he felt the meeting, to discuss the ongoing dispute between the council and GMB members, had been “hijacked” by the Rottingdean Coastal councillor.

However, Mr Palmer said striking workers were continuing to receive a lot of support from those attending the picket line at Hollingbury depot with cars passing by honking their horns to show solidarity with the workers.

Cllr Miller did withdraw his comment after being told to do so by council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty in the meeting yesterday afternoon.

However, the GMB is calling on him to publicly apologise in writing for his “shocking” remarks.

The comments made by the councillor have made workers more determined in their industrial dispute, Mr Palmer added.

He said: “The fact is they were angry before but colleagues who have listened are now absolutely adamant now that they’re very disappointed with their employer.

Strike action has now entered its tenth day, with Mr Palmer saying he had thought the dispute would have been resolved by this point.

He said: “We’re expecting an offer - we’re ready to talk whenever the council are.”

Mr Palmer said that he hopes that an independent mediator may hope in negotiations, but that it will depend on what the council brings to the table.

“Let’s sit down, let’s get on with it - it’s not that difficult when both sides want to find a resolution,” he said.

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