Sunday, 17 February 2008

Council bullying equals bin workers' strike

Brighton bin workers stood up to bullying managers this week after cuts to the city’s refuge budget made an impact on already strained services.

Over 300 workers walked out for two days after crews were forced split to cover up management’s failure to provide backup trucks and enough trained staff for every round.

Last November the council slashed thousands from its own in house Cityclean budget to spend elsewhere. This has now resulted in crews going out short-handed meaning rounds cannot be completed. By the end of the week some rounds are up to two days behind with workers forced to catch up!

A striking bin man added: “As a result of these cuts a majority of the workers who are left are now agency workers so the council can treat them how they want. Now they’re cutting back on using these agency staff with some told there’s no work for a whole week even though there’s loads to get done. How are people supposed to survive like that, not knowing when the next day’s work is coming? And how is the collection of the city’s rubbish supposed to get done when funding is cut like this?”

As the rubbished piled up across the streets of Brighton, so too did the pressure on council bosses who could see they were losing the battle and their resolve. In one incident that helped to spark the strike, two workers were called “too fat and lazy to do their jobs”. On the third day management backed down and conceded to listen to the concerns of the bin workers.