GMB HGV drivers at Brighton and Hove Cityclean vote to accept councils offer and to suspend strike

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‘The disruption has we know been difficult for the residents of Brighton and Hove, and to be clear it was always our last resort, but the council had for too long either ignored or delayed both the issues and in getting around the table to resolve matters, with a strike meant to focus their attention’ say GMB southern.

The work to clear the city has already begun with crews back out working as they normally would. 


The dispute and two weeks of strike action came about over issues with the city’s green council over their refusal to intervene and settle ongoing disagreements around unilateral imposed daily changes and removal of drivers from long standing rounds without fair process, by local management whim. 


A deal though with BHCC around adherence to policies and procedures by local management and Grading increases was today accepted by the GMB unions 54 HGV members working within Refuse, Recycling, Com-bins and commercial departments within CityClean, and as a result it is hoped that the detrimental impact on the HGV driver’s health and well-being at the city’s Hollingdean depot, resulting from non-agreed management changes, will if adhered to see working practices and relationships improve dramatically and quickly. 


The financial elements of the deal, which had been placed originally on the table by the council have also been settled with an offer seeing a re-grading of HGV drivers and others within the department, a move which will lead to staff seeing a pay increase not just for the Drivers but for all the paid employees within CityClean service, and act which will see some of the lowest paid working in the refuse, recycling and streets departments also getting a pay rise.  


Mark Turner B50 Branch Secretary said: 


Our members have today taken the step to end this dispute and strike, by accepting a commitment in writing from the council to manage their management structure by following fair and proper processes, from start to finish, therefore ending the unilateral on round changes and roll distribution approach by any managers Whim and result bullying.  


If the councillors now vote in a similar positive fashion this week, The dispute is over, so it’s in their hands now. 


It always has been about respect for the difficult job our members do in the city, and often the difficult circumstances and poor equipment they often must put up with to carry out that role.  


The fact that we’ve also seen through a pay increase what is a significant recognition of their hard work and skills through a regrading exercise, our members felt that it was only right to vote to accept the council’s proposal and suspend strike action with immediate effect, if the council do their part and sign off at their Policy and resources meeting this week. 


The disruption has we know been difficult for the residents of Brighton and Hove, and to be clear it was always our last resort, but the council had for too long either ignored or delayed the issues and in seeking to meaningfully get around the table to resolve matters, the strike was always intended to simply focus their attention.  


Thankfully, that eventually happened, and we have delivered exactly what our members mandated us to do. 


Gary Palmer GMB regional Organiser said: 


It’s certainly a case of well-done GMB members at Cityclean, in standing up collectively to demand and win both respect and fair treatment by their own management team.  


The occasional negative comments about their taking industrial action have been far outweighed by the amazing support picketers have received over the 13 days of strike action in both words and actions by those visiting the picket and strikers at the Hollingdean depot. 


Once Pay became an issue in the negotiations after being mentioned by the council, HGV drivers were always clear that any regrading exercise and subsequent pay increase on the table always had to be inclusive of all Cityclean workers and not just themselves. 


The consequences of that are that once that piece of work is done, it could in effect see a beneficial ripple out throughout all B&H council’s lower grades and result in many more of the councils’ lower paid workers in council areas such as schools, and care, as an example gaining well deserved pay increases across the board.