Brighton’s sea air takes on a distinctly unpleasant flavor as the smell of rotten garbage gently permeates parts of the city.
A week after the start of a strike by garbage truck drivers – which could last until mid-November – garbage bags are piling up in its streets to the dismay of its human inhabitants and to the delight of its vermin .
“This will obviously attract foxes, rats and seagulls. We have lots of gulls here, and they peck open the bags, ”said Marie De Vere, pushing her way through a passage in the shoulder-high piles of bags covering the sidewalk of a neighborhood road. Seven Dials of the City.
“It’s really appalling,” she added, inspecting the overflowing communal bins outside the distinguished Victorian terrace of Montpelier Crescent, now home to one of Brighton’s largest garbage mounds. and Hove.
“I read the statement from the board and the union. But I still don’t understand the problems, ”she added. “I sympathize with the workers because it is a really horrible job. But I just don’t understand at all.
Up to 54 Cityclean garbage and recycling truck drivers from the GMB union are holding a walkout, which began on October 5 and is now expected to last until next month amid a dispute with the Green-led council on wages and terms, including removing drivers from long-standing trash patrols.
With the first walkout scheduled to end on October 17, another has now been called to run from October 21, after Monday’s talks with the council failed. The council admits it will take weeks to clear the backlog of waste once the dispute is settled.
De Vere said she was lucky to have a garden shed in which to store her waste. Geoff, 77, a retiree who lives near the Scenic Crescent, said there was still room in his shared trash, “but it will overflow by Friday,” he predicted.
“I have sympathy for the pilots. I just think the board is at fault for letting it get to this point. There will be rats. I didn’t see myself, but I heard, ”he said.
In the meantime, the council advises residents to break and flatten boxes and cartons and store the waste in their homes, or take it to the landfill in their cars themselves.
“Most people won’t do this,” said Ray MacKay, warehouse manager. “I don’t want to fill my car with smelly garbage bags.
“We have a huge problem with the foxes and the seagulls here, so they’re going to eat well. “
The unsightly sight is also off-putting to seaside visitors. “This is one of the beautiful blue and white cliffs I took yesterday,” said Lyn Cooper, visiting from Shropshire, as she and her husband , Dave, were both photographing garbage heaps. “And here’s what I took today. Both sides of Brighton.
All household and municipal waste bins and recycling services are concerned, as well as garden and commercial waste services. Amid the back-and-forth of negotiations, Brighton and Hove Council claimed the GMB walked out of Monday’s meeting before hearing full details of the “big and generous” second offer – a claim rejected by GMB Southern.
In a statement, the board said it was “disappointing” that the offer was rejected. “We urge the GMB to review the offer formally submitted to them in writing and come back to the table to discuss it with us. “
In the advice to residents, he says he has “emergency plans in place to ensure that we are providing as good a service as possible under the circumstances.”
People are urged to double or triple the bags of any garbage they leave on the streets, with those using communal bins being urged to store their garbage at home if possible – albeit with the prospect of a strike that lasts for weeks, unsurprisingly this is an unappealing prospect for households.
The southern GMB region said it was “disappointing” that the talks had failed. The union said it had made “good progress towards a resolution and a halt to the strike”, but added that it had seen “a clear turn and the withdrawal of certain position assurances by the strike team”. advice ”.