Words by Robyn Cowie, Online Production Editor
Across Brighton and Hove, vast amounts of rubbish and waste are beginning to pile up as the realities of the bin strike continue. Across the city, the large waste bins such as on the Lewes Road, can be seen to be overflowing with rubbish.
Since Tuesday, the 5th of October, Brighton and Hove has been experiencing strikes from the city’s bin and recycling collections. The first strike which was announced to last two weeks. The GMB union has said that 100 percent of members who took part in the ballot agreed to strike. The GMB has given its full support both nationally and regionally in regards to this strike action.
Workers went on strike over issues in regards to changes of duties and drivers’ rounds. The GMB union have stated that their demands are simple and are focused on drivers being shown respect. The union claim “constant one-sided changes” in regards to issues such as daily duties were having a negative impact on drivers based at the Hollingdean depot. Those striking include Brighton’s Cityclean, recycling, commercial waste and HGV drivers.
The local council responded to these concerns, explaining that “it had to make changes to prioritise areas where rubbish and recycling had built up, and because of driver shortages and vehicle breakdowns”.
The strike continues, with talks happening between GMB and Green Party Councillors. Discussions which had occurred during the strikes’ first week were being deemed as somewhat unsuccessful. However, the GMB union has stated that progress is being made and that further talks will take place next week.
Throughout the city there are clear signs of this strike impacting Brighton life, with the streets beginning to pile high with rubbish and recycling. A council spokesperson has stated, “Residents can get rid of their household waste and recycling at our Household Waste Recycling Sites, which are open throughout the strike… Our advice during this time is wherever possible please flatten boxes, try to minimise waste and rinse and store recycling safely at home.” This current period of striking is set to last until Monday, October 18. Another two-week strike has been called according to the GMB twitter page: “Update we can confirm we have issued further strike dates to Brighton and Hove city council in our disputes in the refuse recycling and commercial waste service from the 21st of October for a further 14 days”. This was announced on the 7th of October and would only occur if this second week of talks between the Union and local council failed to result in progress.