Socialist Worker

Brighton bins: a whiff of workers' power?

by Julie Sherry
Issue No. 2359

Cityclean Refuse workers in the GMB union have suspended strikes for 28 days to ballot on a new offer.

They had struck against huge pay cuts for a week until Thursday of last week, when council bosses made the offer. Details have not been released. 

The strike was an incredible show of workers’ collective power. Rubbish was piling up within a day.

The stench wafted through the streets on the hottest day of the year, with contents from overflowing bins blowing across the streets of the town centre as seagulls swooped to rip open abandoned bin bags.

Hundreds picketed the gates of the Cityclean depot for over 12 hours each day. It was clear they had the upper hand.

But union officials put forward a plan to bring drivers out alone this week, while other strikers return to work.

A number of strikers questioned whether it would not be better to keep up the momentum by calling everyone out together again.

The Green-led council’s offer shows the pressure the strike has put them under.

Any offer must be judged by how it delivers for the collective—and if it cuts anyone’s pay it should be rejected for further strikes.

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Tue 25 Jun 2013, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2359
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