Today the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council and the GMB union jointly call for a swift resolution to the current housing maintenance dispute.
As we have already outlined publicly, Labour supports the basic right to trade union recognition and the principle of no detriment when applied to TUPE transfer of workers.
We are calling on the administration to meet with the union and urgently resolve the dispute without placing workers at detriment and so as to avoid our residents being affected.
We urge them to continue to negotiate with the GMB and not bypass the union in discussions and to involve ACAS if necessary, to resolve the dispute.
In particular we urgently need the administration to negotiate with trade unions around appropriate emergency cover during industrial action and we are concerned that this has not already been put in place.
Labour leader Cllr Nancy Platts contacted the Green administration on 18th September to outline our case around emergency repairs but has yet to receive a reply. Cllr Platts asked the GMB if they would be willing to discuss emergency repairs taking place during industrial action and was advised by them that emergency repair work would not be unreasonably withheld, however a formal request still needs to be made by the Green-led Council. At the time of writing, this still doesn’t seem to have happened. Our first priority should be to ensure the health & safety of residents, many of whom are vulnerable.
Labour’s intervention helped get industrial action suspended.
Consequently, Cllr Platts approached the GMB directly who agreed to suspend industrial action, in good faith, to allow the three political leaders to meet and agree a solution. She wrote to the Green administration on Sunday evening asking for the three Leaders to meet as a matter of urgency on Monday, but no meeting has been offered.
Both Labour and the GMB are concerned that it would now cost the council less to resolve this dispute than is currently being spent in officer time and work, all the while residents suffer by not getting the repairs they need.
We hope the administration respond and act swiftly to help us reach a resolution in the best interests of our residents.