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News - 21 June 2013

Refuse strike suspended, prospects of a permanent settlement looking good.

Following a series of negotiations between the City Council and the GMB union, a proposal has been made which enables the current industrial action to be temporarily suspended.

The negotiations focused on allowances currently paid to some staff but not to others and proposals for changes to make the system fairer and more equitable. The changes were necessary to avoid costly legal action from disgruntled employees who felt they were being discriminated against because they were on an equal grade to the refuse workers but didn't receive special entitlements.

The latest proposal made by the council includes a service redesign of refuse collection which will be to the benefit of residents of the city.

As a result GMB has now agreed to suspend the industrial action for a period of 28 days. This will allow the union to consult its members as to whether they accept the proposal by a postal ballot.

Mark Turner, GMB Branch Secretary said: “We have made significant progress over recent days, the proposal significantly reduces or in some cases eliminates the losses for individual staff members which arose under the previous offer, however there are still some areas that must be addressed. I will be continuing to meet with the council regarding these aspects of the proposal.

For their part, the council have committed to confirm to each staff member how the revised proposal will affect them on an individual basis. When this detailed information is received we will then conduct a postal ballot of our members to ask them whether they accept or reject the changes. In the interim I can confirm that we have suspended our industrial action, for a period of 28 days, to allow this process to take place.”

Penny Thompson, Brighton & Hove City Council Chief Executive said: “We’ve put forward what we consider to be a good service redesign proposal. It is good for the residents and good for the city. I am really pleased that already the Cityclean workforce are back and working hard and fast to clear up the city.

We are more than half way through a consultation period on an allowances system for staff across the council which is fair, consistent and affordable. We are aiming for an October implementation. Talks are continuing with both unions to this end.”

Read related items on:
Brighton & Hove City Council
Turner, Mark
Thompson, Penny

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