GMB agree to suspend Brighton and Hove Cityclean strike action
“Members will be providing the usual excellent service on behalf of the council and look to clean up the City over the very busy Pride weekend and beyond, unless Geoff Raw takes up an interfering hand again”, says GMB Southern
GMB have today suspended the current strike action notices issued to Brighton and Hove City Council, for industrial action for the period commencing 29th July, through to August 6th. This comes as a sign of good faith, in light of an agreement by the council to revoke the continued unfair exclusion of a GMB Union Representative from his workplace at the Hollingdean Cityclean Depot. The rep has been at the centre of anti-trade union behaviour from some council officers.
The full series of one day strikes and ban on overtime, some of which would have coincided with the City’s Pride festival, has now been put on hold. Residents and visitors will now see operatives from Street Cleansing, Refuse and Recycling departments not only out keeping Brighton & Hove free from rubbish as normal, but also providing the City with extensive and professional clean up services following the main Pride parade, events and the weekends increased visitor numbers.
Mark Turner, GMB B50 Branch secretary said: "The negotiated agreement to return our representative to his workplace and the response that we have been able to suspend the threat of industrial action over the coming weeks has been welcomed by our union’s membership and staff at the Cityclean depot. Especially in that this result comes about despite the Chief Exec’s involvement and not because of it!
"There are still a number of worrying and serious issues in need of addressing, and I’m sure the Brighton & Hove City Council’s management team will think so as well. However, with both further meetings over the coming weeks planned and the commencement of the any agreed independent review we hope that matters might now take a turn for the better and flush out those opposed to a good industrial relationship within the paid service with regard to the GMB union.
"This was, to be clear, never about seeking to single out and affecting the City’s Pride celebrations, and our members and their families are looking forward to attending and taking part in both the parade and festivities over the weekend just like thousands of others.
"The power to resolve the issue was always firstly in the hands of the council, they’ve taken that step and we have equally responded, they just now need to follow up on that commitment. Let’s hope they do!”
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "It’s certainly too early yet to think this dispute is completely over and there are still red lines as far as the GMB are concerned outstanding along with the need to understand and address the reason behind the potential anti-trade union behaviour against the GMB from within the council organisation by some officers led by Chief exec Geoff Raw.
"The planned independent review which GMB hope is to look into matters such as the Chief Exec’s offer to affect the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, in exchange for the permanent exclusion of a GMB rep from the depot, and his part in the farce around the near loss of the City’s operator licence will, the GMB hope, support our serious concerns which we feel warrants intervention by all of the City’s political leadership in the fact the Chief Exec has acted unprofessionally and at times been in dereliction of his duties as leader of the paid service in Brighton.
"However, the tentative agreement to return our Rep to the depot by the Council’s officers, which we will monitor closely over the coming weeks to ensure that the chief exec doesn’t once again change his mind and seek to re-introduce any exclusion, did, the GMB felt, warrant an immediate suspension of the possible threat of industrial action in good faith.
"Members will be providing the usual excellent service on behalf of the council and look to clean up the City over the very busy Pride weekend and beyond, unless Geoff Raw takes up an interfering hand again.
"Perhaps a negotiated settlement is still possible and modifications to working relations both side’s might wish to see, can be implemented meaning industrial relations can change going forward."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165950 or Mark Turner 07860 787973 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762
Previous GMB Press Releases:
1] "GMB issue industrial action notice to Brighton and Hove Council" (15 July 2019) https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-issue-industrial-action-notice-to-brighton-and-hove-council
2] "GMB members at Brighton and Hove Cityclean vote resoundingly for strike action" (18 June 2019) https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-members-brighton-hove-cityclean-vote-for-strike-action
3] GMB to open industrial action ballot at Brighton and Hove Cityclean (24 May 2019) https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-industrial-action-ballot-brighton-cityclean
4] GMB members at Brighton and Hove Cityclean show support for industrial action ballot (9 May 2019) https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-members-brighton-hove-cityclean-show-support-industrial-action