THE COUNCIL must prepare for future bin strikes with a “preparedness strategy”, says the Conservatives.

The Tories are calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to develop a strategy to ensure future industrial action “doesn’t bring the same level of chaos, public health risk and financial pain” as recent strikes.

A motion outlining the call to action is expected to be put forward at the environment, transport and sustainability committee next week by Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth.

He said the strategy has been drawn up to ensure that there are “basic guarantees” for public health and transparency for residents in the event of future industrial action.

These include a commitment to clear rubbish within a specified time to avoid bin fires, public transparency on financial settlements and a post-strike plan to ensure a prompt clean up to allow services return to normal within the shortest possible time.

Cllr Nemeth said since 2011, Brighton and Hove has become a “strike city”.

The Argus: Brighton bin strike in 2021 Brighton bin strike in 2021

“However, as residents were horrified to see during the bin strikes last year, the council has no adopted strategy for dealing with these common events in a way that maintains and prioritises public health and safety and the public finances, leaving the matter in the hands of councillors,” he said.

“During the recent strikes, a lack of strategy to bring in private contractors to clear rubbish piling up on street corners and communal blocks led to several bin fires across the city during the weekend of 15 October.

"There could have been deadly consequences from this.”

In the past two years, there have been two city-wide strikes - in 2020, housing repair workers went on strike and last year binmen called industrial action.

Cllr Nemeth is critical of the way in which the most recent strike was handled by the council.

Cllr Nemeth added: “A lack of transparency during negotiations meant that the public were not told – and have still not been told – the cost of the settlement that was being offered to the union on their behalf to end the strike.

“The result of all this was a poor outcome for the city. With little hope of an end to strikes under the current Green-Labour arrangement, a proper strike preparedness strategy would set ground rules help deal with all these problems that emerged during the recent strike and allow residents to be put first during future disputes.”

Conservative Cllr Samer Bagaeen, who will be seconding the motion, said the strategy should also include a plan to promptly clean up the city post-strike.

“We saw a glacially slow clean-up operation after the bin strikes and services are still not back to normal in some areas,” Cllr Bagaeen said.

“There has also been the problem of an explosion in the number of rats across the city, including in council houses, that residents are now unfairly having to pay to be addressed.

“A strike strategy, including a post-strike clean-up operation where the council allocates enough staff capacity to do the job required, should be ready to go straight away so that residents’ services can be promptly restored at no cost to them.”

A council spokesman said: “It would not be appropriate for us to comment on notices of motion until councillors at the relevant committee have had a chance to consider and discuss the motion in question.”