On news that the some CityClean refuse workers will be taking strike action, Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, said, “We are extremely disappointed that the GMB union is taking strike action in support of a demand by a small number of truck drivers that, if accepted, would undermine equal pay law.
“This is about 26 refuse truck drivers unhappy that five street cleaning charge hands now earn the same as them as a result of last year’s fair allowances agreement and following a nationally-recognised job evaluation exercise.
“It’s surprising that the GMB aren’t happy that some of their members in street-cleaning saw an increase in take-home pay from last year’s allowances settlement.
“No pay is being cut and no jobs are under threat. This GMB action creates misery for residents and puts senior management at CityClean, the council’s refuse and recycling collection service, in an impossible position and threatens all the good work happening behind the scenes to improve CityClean’s service to the city.
“CityClean has new leadership in Richard Bradley and long-awaited new refuse collection vehicles arriving to help manage technical problems seen over the summer.
“I’m also keen to see CityClean bidding for commercial contracts to help support the council’s difficult budget position due to ongoing government cuts and protect jobs. Unfortunately GMB’s action seriously jeopardises such commercial income for CityClean to be explored for now.
“I’m confident that senior officers are keeping an open door to the union and very much hope both sides can reach a sensible resolution which does not undermine the fair and equal system of pay and allowances now used.
“I’m very sorry that residents have to experience more disruption to their services because of the GMB’s actions.
“With the new management at CityClean we expect to see a sustained improvement in services.
“I urge the union not to undermine the good progress just as things come into place to get the waste service the city deserves alongside fair pay for all workers.”