GMB members employed by Brighton and Hove City Council have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action in response to Green Party plans to reduce their take home pay.
The members, who are employed in refuse, recycling and street sweeping, voted as follows:
Votes in favour of strike action: 95.6%
As a result GMB has formed a strike committee, which has decided that action will begin with a full week’s strike commencing on 14th June. Further dates of action will be announced in due course.
The dispute began in January when the Council’s Green Party leader, Jason Kitcat, gave full authority to its £150,000 Chief Executive, Penny Thompson, to negotiate and implement a revised pay and allowances package without any recourse to Councillors. This led to a final offer being made in April, which included cuts of up to £4000 a head from some of the Council’s lowest paid employees.
Mark Turner, GMB Branch Secretary said:
“A 96% vote in favour of industrial action clearly shows that the workforce are determined to fight these unfair cuts.
Cityclean employees have delivered over £7.5M of efficiency savings for the Council, whilst still maintaining a record satisfaction rating of over 89% (See notes to editors 1) in the most recent survey of the public. In return they have been rewarded with 3 years of pay freezes and now the Council is seeking to implement cuts to their take home pay of up to £4000 a head.
Having stood on a platform of fighting austerity and defending workers rights, the Green Party should now be ashamed that their leader, Jason Kitcat, is seeking to slash and burn the terms and conditions of some of the lowest paid staff in the Council.
Whilst our members do not take strike action lightly, they have no option but to defend themselves from these savage cuts. At a meeting of the workforce this morning, they have personally asked me to thank the public for the overwhelming support they have received, with over 1,500 residents signing petition on our website and posters in support appearing in windows throughout the City.