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Brighton refuse drivers to strike

Brighton’s refuse and recycling drivers are to go on strike in a long-running dispute over pay.

Trade union GMB has announced that drivers of refuse vehicles in Brighton and Hove City Council will undertake strike action over pay and grading on 11 February.

Cityclean, the council’s refuse service, said the council used a “well-established and consistent process to measure the pay” for driver charge-hands. But GMB members refute council claims that an independent job evaluation was carried out on their role.

Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said: “Once again, Brighton council officers’ lack of both commitment and ability to find a resolution has meant GMB members are left with no alternative other than to take further direct action.

“GMB members will lose money and the people of this city potentially will see rubbish remaining uncollected, something that we and they deeply regret.”

Richard Bradley, head of Cityclean and parks for the council, said he was disappointed with the strike news. He urged the GMB to follow a right of appeal process regarding job pay and evaluation instead of disrupting collections.

He said Cityclean was facing “big challenges” like all councils because of reductions in central funding. The council is having to make £102m in savings by 2020.

“In Cityclean, the budget proposals are to make £800,000 in savings through a service redesign. These plans provide significant opportunities to maximise commercial trading opportunities that will help protect jobs from the impact of budget reductions,” he said. “This action will simply serve to undermine these efforts.”

Brighton refuse workers also took strike action in September 2014 and June 2013 over pay cuts and allowances.

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