Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Works vote to strike over pay row

Brighton blockade
A dustcart blockade brought traffic chaos to the city centre in July

Refuse workers in Brighton and Hove have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay.

The GMB plans to hold a week of action starting from 9 November and said it would be urging its members to "work to rule" from 5 November.

The union balloted its members earlier this month over a disagreement on pay proposals, which it claims could see 800 workers lose up to £8,000 a year.

The council said it was committed to fair pay and had improved its offer.

The GMB union has threatened "massive disruption" to refuse collections, street cleaning and other services.

'Public support'

It said had 96% of its members who voted were in favour of taking industrial.

Rob Macey GMB Organiser said: "GMB members don't take this type of action lightly and we are conscious of the inconvenience it will bring to the residents of the city.

"We are also, however, confident that the public will support our members when they consider how they would react if they themselves were faced with pay cuts of up to £8,000 each through no fault of their own.

"We are faced with another Leeds-type dispute on the same issue which is now in the eighth week of all out strike action."

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: "This issue is about the council's legal and moral duty to pay employees fairly without passing on unnecessary costs to the council tax payer.

"We have had productive talks with the unions up to this point about how to fulfil this duty and we are disappointed the GMB has taken its members out on strike while the council is prepared to continue negotiations.

"There will, undoubtedly, be some disruption to rubbish collections over the days of the strike if it goes ahead and the week that follows but we will do our utmost to minimise any delays in collections.

"We'd ask residents' patience during this period and we remain hopeful we can resume talks with the GMB."

Traffic in Brighton and Hove was brought to a standstill in July when dustcarts, recycling lorries and street cleaning vehicles blockaded the city centre.

Hundreds of refuse collectors at Leeds City Council are staging their eighth week of strike action in a similar row over an equal pay review.

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