Following Cllr Miller’s unacceptable remarks at yesterday’s special meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee, wherein he likened GMB members to ‘terrorists’, the Labour Group have written to the Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Steve Bell, calling for Cllr Miller’s resignation. The letter reads:
We are writing to you as co-leaders of the opposition and the Labour Group members present at yesterday’s Special Policy & Resources Committee.
At the meeting, we were shocked to hear Cllr Miller describe GMB members as ‘terrorists’ and accuse them of blackmail, as well as compare their legal strike action to ‘piracy’. Cityclean workers who are also members of the GMB are our staff and local residents, involved in a dispute where not feeling respected has played a key role. To speak about those key workers, of whom the Council act as employers, in such inflammatory terms is unacceptable. It also undermines efforts to resolve the current bin strike that residents are suffering through. We are grateful to Cllr Mac Cafferty and all those across the political divide who condemned his words, condemnation which we trust you share.
Cllr Miller should have made an immediate and unreserved written apology to the GMB Union but has failed to do so and should now resign.
In an age when all too often, ill-thought-out comments lead to violence against others, elected officials need to be extra careful with their language.
Cllr Miller’s response to Mark Turner’s email was wholly inadequate and seems only to have served to inflame the situation further. The GMB are now stating they will not return to the negotiating table until an apology is received.
That apology should have been issued straight away, not only because that would have been the right thing to do, but it would also have been in the interests of resolving the industrial dispute for everyone in the City.
We are disappointed that Cllr Miller proceeded to go on BBC Sussex Radio today instead of issuing an apology and allowing the situation to calm down. He’s now had plenty of time to apologise and has chosen not to. If he really wanted to act in the best interests of our residents and businesses, he would have thought about his impact on everyone else instead of continuing to promote his own unacceptable views.
We are now calling on you, as Leader of the Conservative Group to step in and ask Cllr Miller to resign after his unacceptable remarks about GMB union members and Council employees.
Councillor John Allcock
Councillor Carmen Appich
Councillor Nancy Platts
Councillor Gary Wilkinson
Councillor Dan Yates